Thursday March 23, 2006
Infomaniac reported on two new Miami blogs back on March 9th; I just got around to linking to them yesterday, and wondered why one was on the herald’s url, the other not. James Burnett, author of Burnett’s Urban Etiquette one of the blogs in question, replied in the comments:
[my blog] is hosted on blogger (along with a half dozen other new Herald blogs), because the paper is in transition between it’s old software platform for blogs and a new system being set up.
This is interesting for a number of reasons (some of which are technical, and those I’ll leave alone). One is that the recent change of ownership of the Herald makes the newspaper much more of a wild card in the online news-delivery game  , and what the Herald does with its web site over the next couple of years could be the most historically important action the Herald will ever do. The other is that it turns out that the Herald has a bunch of new blogs(!) we get to look at (scrutinize?). Fun! Let’s look at each individually; but first, let’s make some comments about them as a lot.
Even though these must, to be effective, be driven by what blog-interested staff are interested in blogging about, the overall mix is a look at what the Herald considers important. During hurricane season, there was a hurricane blog. There’s a celebrity blog. Etc. Also, annoyingly, blogs.herald.com points to Dave Barry’s blog, not to a Herald blog directory. For that, you have to go here. Let’s run them down:
- Dave Barry’s Blog: I’m not particularly a fan of Barry’s humor, but blogging is perfect vehicle for it (as evidenced). I also like the fact that his assistant shares the blog with him.
- Greg Cote’s Random Evidence of a Cluttered Blog: a sports blog. Yawn.
- On the Beat: Miami Heat: a blog about the Miami Heat. Make my yawn a double (or maybe this one’s more interesting because it’s more specific, and gets to delve into grittier issues; let a regular reader decide).
- Miami’s Cuban Connection: pity the poor sucker who has to walk this tightrope. But note the treatment of this situation, and wonder whether MCC presents any challenge (or even any reasonable alternative) to babalú, 26th Parallel, or Cuban-American Pundits. Fat chance.
- Infomaniac: You’ve gotta hand it to the Infomaniac – as the Herald’s original blog, she gets to write about whatever she wants to – the paper itself, the newspaper industry, blogs, local issues, internet issues, whatever. Now that there are more fish in the sea, she may have to specialize a little more. Or not. In any case, worth reading.
- Burnett’s Urban Etiquette: A newbie writing on a very narrow topic, but one that could develop in interesting ways. Or could run out of things to talk about and get boring before it ever becomes interesting. We’ll have to wait and see. (I wonder how being on a .herald domain influences one in writing a blog of this sort; probably less of a factor then with the Cuban blog, but still a factor?)
- Gay South Florida: Similar to the Cuban Connection in that there’s a built-in audience. The difference is that (to my knowledge) there are not any Gay-in-Miami blogs around now, so just rounding up the news relevant to this group and presenting it may be good enough. (The trick will be to keep it local, since there are plenty of national Gay blogs, and Steve seems intent to do just that.
- The Work/Life Balancing Act: Short, smart posts (even on a topic that may seem dry at first blush) are blog gold. If Cindy can keep this up, she may have a winner on her hands. (Then again, if her audience is time-strapped women, she may have a winner without an audience, blogs being a time-sink and all.)
- Crazy for Critters: You’ve got to be shitting me (as my cat recently did, btw). I’m not going to bother with this except to say that, however ad-hoc, the Herald should have tried to find another way to get up a half-dozen blogs then Blogger. These generic blogger templates look really really unprofessional.
- Scene in the Tropics: One of the original ones (and punily named). Not bad from what I hear, although not really my area of interest.
- What a Life!: Another blog from a features columnist, with little local content. Again, I’m not sure that the potential readership of this blog are likely to be surfing the Herald’s site looking for more stuff to read online.
I wonder, finally, what the Herald is thinking of with these offerings. (Of course “The Herald” is an amorphous concept in this context; we’re really talking about the Herald’s editors along with (I suppose) their new owners.) To some extent, of course, they’re throwing things at the wall to see what sticks. And no doubt they’re trying (and considering trying) all sorts of things, many of them non-blog (Why not let us post comments to all Herald articles?), and many of them so new and daring that they’ll require some time to implement. Let’s hope there’s a lot of interesting stuff to look forward to.
 An e-mail I received from a spouse of a Herald employee after my harsh words re the Herald’s online operation indicated that a lot of the crappiness came from Knight-Ridder higher-ups, and that the local staff was doing the best they could under the circumstances. I agreed that this seemed quite plausible.comments powered by Disqus