My first blog was called Polk News Watch. I set it up in the fall of 2003 as part of theledger.com, the website I started for The Ledger, the daily newspaper in Lakeland, Fla., where I live.
Polk News Watch was a spot where readers could discover what other publications were reporting about our part of Central Florida.
The secret sauce was a daily email from Google News that fed me news stories mentioning Lakeland, Polk County, Winter Haven and several other local cities. I developed the most interesting links into blog posts and often channeled info to Ledger editors as news tips.
The blog’s most lasting find was an article by Detroit Free Press travel writer Ellen Creager, who said downtown Lakeland “has transformed itself into an small mecca of cool.” The mecca phrase stuck in the local imagination and became the motto for the Lakeland Downtown Partnership.
Polk News Watch is no longer available, but an article promoting it is.
My next blog was one that former producer Jamie McAtee and I set up quickly as Hurricane Charley approached Central Florida in August 2004. The blog was placed at the top of the home page of theledger.com, and I used it to post a stream of the latest news about Charley and two other hurricanes that crashed though Polk County that year.
Blogging was central to an online media course I taught at Florida Southern College the following year. Each student blogged about a topic they found interesting. Their instructor started Hollingsworth Rambles, a blog about the class and media trends, and posted the syllabus on it.
There have been other blogs since then. Most recently, I contributed to The Dish, a Ledger group blog about food and dining. My specialty was local vegetarian dining.
And now comes a new blog. This one shares my name: Barry I. Friedman. I’ll be writing about media, music and other things I find interesting.
A few thanks are in order:
- To Chuck Welch, for providing hosting.
- To Anders Norén, for providing beautiful WordPress themes, including the one used by this site.
- To Henri Bergius, who provided the Creative Commons-licensed coffee break photo used at the top of these pages, which is cropped from the original.
Thanks for checking my blog. Feel free to leave a comment below.