The Austin American Statesman, our main local newspaper has a short article about the two main local blogs Austinist and Metroblogging Austin. Austin’s demographics, of course, are a perfect fit for these aggregate blogs, be it for attracting those who will write about Austin or for those who choose blogs as a way to keep up with things in our fair city.
Of course, as readership grows and authorship becomes more finely tuned there is great potential for advertising or sponsorship revenue. There’s nothing particularly new about all this, except we may be seeing mainsteam publishing getting re-invented (again). These group blogs have the potential to invert the pyramid, if not abolishing it altogether, of providing certain types of news targetting the same demographics as the bloggers themselves.
The most useful aspect (for me) is that the authors are many and can therefore collect a wider range of news and events than one single person (and their blog) can, if anything, point out links to other blogs or Web sites that have local content or appeal. With the informal and often humorous writing style, these blogs are fun to read. Having access to them via RSS feeds makes getting local information quite easy.
And of course, there’s the obligatory quote from me in the Statesman’s article about bloggers telling us about what they had for lunch and how eventually (hopefully, oh please) we will see this kind of blogging evolve into a more cogent kind of restaurant review.
The (unintentionally?) ironic part of the article has a quote from Ben Brown, who was the initial Austin Austinist: “It is the greatest city in the world in which to live, and we will hear no arguments to the contrary. We fight with tooth and nail to stay here, even when our real job asks us to travel for cash.” I’m told Ben has since moved away from Austin for a job out in the Bay Area.