January 14, 2005
Blogging the state house

I heartily endorse this idea.

Newspapers clearly are embracing the idea of staff blogs, and one area of news coverage that's ripe for blogging is the politics and government beat. At the Times Argus and Rutland Herald in Vermont, a new statehouse blog by Vermont press bureau chief Darren Allen has debuted.

New media director Ernesto Burden says the blog, called Hall Monitor, features "an inside perspective on statehouse happenings, including scuttlebutt that may never see the pages of the newspaper but will be a great resource and a heck of a lot of fun for political junkies, news lovers, and probably the legislators themselves."

Says Allen: "There are countless things that members of the press talk about informally with lawmakers, lobbyists, and state officials, and it never gets communicated to our readers. With the blog, I am excited by the opportunity to let them in on the conversation." (There's not yet a reader forum attached to Hall Monitor, but that's planned soon, says Burden.)

This is Exhibit A for how how newspapers can use the concept of blogging to make their product better at little to no cost to themselves. The Express News was on the right track by having local delegates blog the DNC and RNC, but there's much more bang for the buck here. I'll send a box of chocolates to the first news editor to implement such a thing. Thanks to Kimberly for the tip.

While we're on the subject here, how about some blogging from state reps themselves? Aaron Pena (D, Edinburg) is the pioneer here, though I do wish one of his "younger staff members" had also explained the advantages of Movable Type or WordPress to him. Still, the fact that he's actually putting out content of interest on a reasonably regular basis is something to be happy about. Way to go, Rep. Pena! Via Byron and Greg, who notes a more traditional blog from New Hampshire State Rep. Peter Sullivan.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 14, 2005 to Blog stuff | TrackBack

Blogging the statehouse is going to rock in Texas this year, man, did you see this? They've got wireless access in the capitol, now. I swear the audience is going to be full of laptops in every hearing. Most will be lobbyists checking email and viewing porn while they wait around to testify, but it'll be good for bloggers, too.

Posted by: Scott on January 15, 2005 8:04 AM

Thanks for taking note of the blog. I'm just an old timer trying to stay up with the changes. But I am learning fast. Will make improvements to the blog in the near future. Just glad to be part of the movement. Thanks for the welcome. I'm sure that that other elected officials will take note and that the novelty of an elected official having a blog will rapidly disappear. With that, the water is warm guys come on in!

Rep. Aaron Pena

Posted by: Aaron Pena on January 17, 2005 1:31 PM