Blog Article

The Duluth News-Tribune article concerning blogs was released to the world today, but my site was no where to be found. Bastards. The article is family friendly and my site, well, is not. Atlhough if I had given more thought provoking answers to the reporters questions, instead of trying to be clever, I would of stood a better chance.

Posted on Thu, Jun. 30, 2005

Home is where the blog is
One local site marks second year as more folks flock to medium

BY RUTH LIAO
DULUTH NEWS TRIBUNE

BLOG: (n). also used as a v. An online journal, chronology or forum, abbrev. weblog. See Duluth

There are as many blogs under the sun as there are topics, but a number of local-interest blogs cover issues closer to home.

From the Duluth Chamber of Commerce to college sports to opinionists, more bloggers in Duluth are linking together their own community. And the blogging medium, popularized by last year’s election coverage, is finding itself rapidly changing to accommodate new forms of online dialog.

The temperature is in the 80s on a sunny afternoon. Inside Lakeview Cafe, local blogger Scott Lunt sets up his laptop and signs onto his blog, http://www.perfectduluthday.com.

“Like today,” he said last week, looking out over Lake Superior’s crystalline waters.

Wednesday marked the second anniversary of the site. Known there as Starfire, Lunt scrolls through a series of postings. Someone was looking for a ride to Minneapolis. Another posted information about the Living Garden project by the environmental group Sweetwater Alliance. On a sidebar, links connect to music venues, upcoming music festivals and alternative local news sites. Its quintessential tagline always asks: Is the water warm enough?

The site averages 333 hits per day. Lunt said most readers are probably young — 18 to 45 years old and members of the arts and entertainment community.

“It’s pretty undiscovered, but it’s steadily growing,” he said.

Lunt’s true passion extends to vlogging, or video logging, a burgeoning new cousin that allows a tidal wave of online streaming. Lunt said he posts at least two or three movies a week. He said he would also like to get more involved with pod-casting, where taped broadcasts are recorded and posted online, available for downloading to Apple iPods and similar devices.

While perfectduluthday is a general conversation of everyday happenings, more area blogs are streamlined toward specific topics.

The Duluth Chamber of Commerce hosts two blogs, run by president David Ross and public policy director Andy Petersen. Those blogs were started a few months ago to keep members informed and to let them comment on issues.

“It generates a conversation that the other mediums don’t,” Ross said. He said the immediate feedback and convenience of online posting generates more dialog.

Those comments helped change policy on the city level regarding economic development. Petersen said after he posted a draft of the policy, readers immediately e-mailed him, suggesting revisions, some of which he implemented.

“It shows us that people are starting to look for information by virtue of screen,” Petersen said.

Public impact also stems from http://www.connectduluth.com/cgi-bin/blog1.cgi, a spin-off of the Connect Duluth Political Action Committee. In February, the group successfully halted a City Council retreat planned in Two Harbors because of objections to cost and location. More recently, the site broke news of the Great Lakes Aquarium$1 million settlement.

“It has the ear of the political establishment in Duluth,” said PAC chairman Richard Holmstrom.

Members of the traditional media are another source of blogging. The News Tribune dabbled with a blog from last November to December, and plans to begin another by next fall, according to editorial page editor Robin Washington.

“Blogs can easily deteriorate into meanness or obscenity,” he said. “At this point, it’s an emerging art/science/technology; no one really knows what it is.”

Radio sports host Bruce Ciskie of KDAL/610 AM thinks of his blog, www.ciskie.blogspot.com, as an extension of his show.

“I can mention something that I didn’t mention on the show,” Ciskie said. “If you say it on the air, and they completely misunderstand it, you won’t be able to clean it up,” he said.

Reader Weekly columnist Paul Ryan said blogs are a good way to keep in touch with people in the area. Now posting from La Crosse, Wis., his blog (http://www.dailyramblings.com/blog/) gets about 150 hits a day, mostly college-aged people. Ryan enjoys the unedited liberties of blogs, but cautions how easily rumors can be started by ill-credited postings.

“You can write completely unprofessionally, but people will take you seriously,” Ryan said. He said the responsibility is up to those who run the blogs.

For “Starfire” Lunt, he has dreams of seeing the blogging community in Duluth grow. He has ideas of holding how-to blogging sessions to educate the public. And watching perfectduluthday.com grow.

“If you love Duluth, it’s a good quick stop,” he said.

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