Seattle’s blogosphere
Neighborhood blogs quickly becoming new media outlets
By Janelle Wetzstein
photo/Janelle Wetzstein
¦ Doree Armstrong, editor of the PhinneyWood.comnews blog, works on her site at Makeda Coffee off Greenwood Avenue North.

It’s 1 o’clock on a Thursday afternoon and Doree Armstrong is hard at work. She sits on a bench in a small coffee shop off Greenwood Avenue North. In between bites of cookie and sips of coffee, she bangs away at her laptop keys, furiously answering e-mails.

Around her, customers greet baristas cheerfully and talk loudly on their cell phones, while Armstrong continues to work, completely unfazed.

Welcome to the life of your neighborhood-blog editor. Armstrong, editor of PhinneyWood.com(a news blog covering the Phinney Ridge and Greenwood neighborhoods) is just one of more than a hundred local news-blog editors duking it out for site hits in the Greater Seattle area. While the competition remains friendly, it is also fierce.

“As far as competition for me, KOMO has all of their neighborhood blogs, so they have their KOMO Greenwood Phinney,” she said. “But I don’t look at it as too much competition because they do a lot of citywide stories that they post on all their sites — they don’t necessarily make it neighborhood-specific.”

Armstrong’s struggle to stay relevant in the ever-changing landscape of today’s news media is not unique. Since The Seattle Times started cutting staff and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer went to an online-only format, local ex-journalists have been struggling to reinvent their job market. Some have found a new niche by running news blogs.

Many of these local news sites have come and gone the last three years. Now that the dust has settled, the remaining neighborhood blogs have emerged as a source for coverage that major media outlets in Seattle can no longer afford.

But how long can the neighborhood news blog afford itself?

Blog basics

While localized blogs exist in most major cities across the country, Seattle — with all its unique neighborhoods — has become a breeding ground for hyper-localized, neighborhood-news blogs.

According to the Washington News Council’s 2011 Online Media Guide for Washington, 104 of these local news blogs currently exist in this state. Most of these sites use the blog format, where posts stack up on top of each other, allowing the user to scroll down the page for older information.

Armstrong said that quality sites are updated at least twice a day, if not more. She should know since she won the Society of Professional Journalist’s 2010 Sigma Delta Chi Award for deadline

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