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.