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About Me

BIFheadshotI’m a digital journalist and recovering newspaper guy who lives in Lakeland, Fla., with my wife, two standard poodles and a poodle wannabe.

I like hiking, biking, reading, listening to live music, playing congas, hanging with friends, driving with the top down, the First Amendment and trying to predict the new technologies people will use to read, watch, listen and share information.

Here’s the short version of my professional career:

I started as a reporter and thought I would be one for decades. Instead, I was asked to become an editor after two years. I spent the next 21 years as a front-line editor, supervising reporters and other editors and planning news coverage at two newspapers in Florida.

My world changed in 1989 when my wife and I put the Prodigy online service on our first PC and I realized computers would revolutionize how we get news and information. I evangelized the Internet at work and was asked to start building a website in 1995.

My most lasting professional accomplishment thus far is shepherding from a single page on the then-young World Wide Web to a network of websites generating upwards of 12 million page views monthly and significant new revenue.

In 2015, I founded, a community news and information website that combines original reporting with curating of credible news about Lakeland. The site is overseen by the board of a non-profit organization, Linking Community Now.

My wife, Sharon P. Hodges, recently retired as a research professor from the University of South Florida. I am in awe of her and our two accomplished daughters, Laurel Friedman and Amelia Friedman Hart.

I listen to many genres of music.  I sometimes wonder why singers record new versions of “Try a Little Tenderness” when nobody will ever outdo Otis Redding.

Read stories on that I wrote or that mention me at


  1. LF

    Blog looks great! Looking forward to more posts. To expand on Otis Redding’s ‘Try a Little Tenderness,’ listen to Katie Webster’s version and see if she does it justice.

    • Barry Friedman

      It’s a decent version. I like the beginning when she uses a different tempo and approach. She falls into the Otis trap at the end, and while she rocks it, I still think she falls short. I’m partial to Solomon Burke’s version, mostly because of the respect he pays to The Big O:

  2. Mo Kennedy

    This site just got added to my list of favorites, Barry. Looks great. Makes me want a cup of coffee. RE: Try a little tenderness — that is a standout song in The Commitments, a fascinating movie about a soul band a scrappy poor kid puts together in Ireland.

  3. Barry Friedman

    Thanks, Mo. The Commitments is one of my favorite all-time movies. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched it. Theirs is my second-favorite version of “Try a Little Tenderness” with Solomon Burke close behind. What a triumphant moment in the movie. I also like the way they use the song at the very end of the movie:

    Jimmy Rabbitte: [pretending to be Terry Wogan] So, lookin’ back Jimmy, what have you learned from your experience with The Commitments?
    Jimmy Rabbitte: Well, that’s a tricky question, Terry. But as I always say, we skipped the light fandango, turned cartweels ‘cross the floor. I was feelin’ kinda seasick, but the crowd called out for more.
    Jimmy Rabbitte: [pretending to be Terry Wogan] That’s very profound Jimmy! What does it mean?
    Jimmy Rabbitte: I’m fooked if I know,Terry!
    (Music swells in the background: “All you’ve got to do is try a little tenderness…” Cue the credits.)

    • Mo Kennedy

      I’ve ordered up a copy of Once, that other Dublin movie you recommended, Barry. Looking forward to seeing that guitar player from Commitments in a different role. Thanks for the heads up.

  4. Bob Rosinsky

    I just discovered your blog. Keep it up!

  5. Wendy Eckhardt

    Hi Barry! I love your blog, I was sent a news story provided by it this morning. It’s great to see you are thriving. I always liked picking your brain at the Ledger. Your an inspiration to many.

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