Wednesday, January 21, 2009

New City Hall blog

Last month Roldo Bartimole pined for the long-gone days when reporters swarmed Cleveland City Hall, digging for news. He lamented that he heard the Plain Dealer was cutting back from two City Hall reporters to only one. Well, at least that one guy's working hard.

Henry Gomez, our daily's watchdog at 601 Lakeside, is now blogging daily from City Hall, passing on politics news with speed and webby verve. I've posted a link to his Inside City Hall blog on my blogroll of local politics sites (over there on the right).

Now anyone who's wondering, what the hell is Cleveland City Council doing lately? Anything? can find out daily. Sadly, Gomez's post today is about how few council members showed up for an major hearing about which big projects Mayor Frank Jackson will ask President Obama to fund. (Want to stimulate the Cleveland economy? Build us an Inner Belt Bridge that won't fall down!)

Nice use of the web by the Plain Dealer here. Sometimes it seems like thinks "blog" just means "page where we post the news we're printing tomorrow." This one's different. The editors are letting an ambitious reporter post newsy and observational stuff that won't make the paper and play with a voice that wouldn't fit the Metro section. It's a newspaper blog that reads like a blog.

Yes, it's sad more of what Gomez is doing can't make the print edition. His report last week about Matt Zone's failed council coup shouldn't have been hidden on page 3B. But newspapers and Cleveland are shrinking. The city has gone from 750,000 people in 1970 (when Roldo was a young reporter) to 444,000 or less today. Also, since Cleveland is poor, City Hall doesn't have much money to spend. So most political attention shifts to the county or Washington, and those of us who want more news about the Zone-Sweeney battle can go online.

Turns out, plenty of readers want a daily fix of City Hall news. In 11 hours, 26 people have commented on Gomez's post! I'm jealous!

1 comment:

Henry J. Gomez said...

Erick - Thank you so much for the kind words and the link. I'm glad you're enjoying the new blog.

As you know, I'm a fan of yours, as well.

- Henry Gomez