It’s time for my semi-annual review of the blogosphere in Seattle. I’ve been New To Seattle for less than a year. But since I last looked at the blog scene here in September, I have grown to appreciate more the information void around Seattle filled by online sources. So much so, in fact, that the column to the right lists every blog-style site in the city I know about that meets my minimum requirements (regular current postings, primarily content of information and/or opinion, not mainly shilling for the owner’s business). Including online sites attached to other media, that’s a whopping
67 68 75 entries, double what I found a half-year ago. Click on the name, and you’re there! Feel free to let me know about others I should consider.
To simplify things (and maybe generate a few referring hits), I classify each blog in one of four categories: neighborhood; news/opinion; commentary/review/arts; and sports. News/opinion includes the Internet operation of several print or broadcast outlets, including The Seattle Times, the alt weeklies and the slick monthlies, various college student newspapers, TV stations and radio stations. But with just one exception the focus of my review here is on blogs that are not part of a larger news or media organization. I don’t have a good grip yet on the sports blogs, so I offer no opinion in that realm.
For obvious reasons, also excluded from my assessment is the blog you’re reading right now, NewToSeattle.com. I generally employ a newspaper column-style format using a Margaret-Mead-watching-the-natives-in-Samoa attitude. Frankly, while I write regularly, that’s usually just once a week. (But I managed last week to muster three articles, on such diverse topics as Seattle stress, Jay Leno’s comment about Seattle weather and the elusive Seattle home of the Internet Movie Database.) However, I like to think my one-step-back efforts stand the test of time. That means the whole body of work remains relevant for those visitors with way too much free time on their hands who are willing to wade through the four dozen posts so far.
So,with the disclaimers and qualifications all out of the way, here goes:
BEST IN SHOW: Once again, I give the top honor to Seattle Bubble, Tim Ellis’s amazingly comprehensive, real-time review of the local real estate scene. I just got back from Los Angeles, where I served as a preliminary judge in the Gerald Loeb Awards for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism. Sponsored by UCLA, the Loebs are sort of the Pulitzer Prizes of business journalism. I chaired one of the panels reviewing online content. Believe me, the work on Seattle Bubble would have been a contender had it been entered. You don’t have to be a real estate nut (although in Seattle it seems like everyone is) to enjoy the content here, which includes snazzy graphics, terrific data and biting commentary.
BEST NEIGHBORHOOD BLOG: In many ways this is the most important category, since otherwise there would be a lot of stuff going unreported or unnoted. Right now, I think the best neighborhood blog is Rainier Valley Post. Overseen by Amber Campbell, it covers a slew of diverse neighborhoods, including fancy Seward Park with its Lake Washington mansions and the more edgy Rainier Beach. The RVP has been hitting hard the issue of local crime and perceived shortcomings in the way the Seattle Police Department patrols the area. There are no-flinching accounts of the latest offenses. One unsigned post last week argued that the area is nearly three times as dangerous as New York City. While I might question the methodology, it takes guts to publish something like that in such a local forum.
BEST NEWS/OPINION: I see a tie here among three sites, PubliCola, SeattlePI and Crosscut. Their different approaches makes for surprisingly broad coverage (if you read all three). Run by veteran journalists, PubliCola is the most newspaper-ish of the trio, with basic reporting on government, crime and the courts. SeattlePI is, of course, what’s left of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the once-dominant newspaper driven into the ground by Hearst Corp. and closed in 2009. This site seems to have a little bit more sense of Seattle history. In some ways the most interesting is Crosscut, operated by a nonprofit corporation that provides a platform for a mix of original content and outside bloggers, augmented with curated links to other sites. It features the work of Knute “Mossback” Berger, the long-time Seattle columnist whose essays I have come to enjoy. Honorable mention goes to My Northwest, the one blog honored here that is linked to other media (mainly KIRO-FM). It was this site that popularized the skinny earlier this month on the Twitter dissing of Seattle by the newly crowed Miss Seattle.
BEST COMMENTARY/REVIEW/ARTS: This category includes everything that doesn’t fit in the other three (including NewToSeattle.com), so it’s sort of hard to judge. Sound on the Sound provides a pretty breezy overview of the Seattle-area music scene, serving up plenty of stinging reviews. Since I’m a sucker for old photographs, I could go for Vintage Seattle, except that new posts are too infrequent–only three this year to date.