Place-blogging on the Right
BY Nancy Scola | Thursday, April 23 2009
A topic of conversation bubbling up at this week's Politics Online conference in DC was whether the right has any analogue to the left's 50 State Blog Network. That federation of local blogs was launched on MyDD and routed through BlogPAC back at the start of 2007. With the network, state-focused bloggers get financial support in the form of an installation of the blogging platform Soapblox. Progressive writers are free, then, to dive deep into their local politics without having to worry all that much about keeping servers running, nodes humming, and whatnot. (Though Soapblox isn't without its own problems.) Many of the better-known state blogs on the left, like Blue Jersey and Texas's Burnt Orange Report, have benefited from that largess.
Conservatives at the conference responded by offering up Red County. A few seemed fairly enthused about its prospects. Evolving out of the ground zero of conservative America that is Orange County, Red County is targeted at building out a network of conservative bloggers across the country. Represented on the site are about 35 counties, from King County, Washington to Jefferson County, Alabama to Bergen County, New Jersey. There's a certain appeal to organizing political blogging on the county level. It's a far more knowable measure of geography for most normal humans than "Congressional District 5" or the like. And especially outside the east coast, it's a more chewable bite of the political space than an entire state.
But you don't have to scratch beneath the surface all that much to see that the 50 State Blog Network and Red County models differ quite a bit. The 50 State Blog Network works by pumping a bit of much needed funding into the progressive left, acting as a grant-giving resource. They handle infrastructure so that bloggers can focus on content. The Red County model, though, seems to be much more like a traditional news bureau, with what their folks produce pouring into a centralized hub.
Worth keeping an eye on.