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A quick review of what's happening at

October 05, 2005|by BOB MAGINNIS

Last Wednesday, I wrote about a new feature launched recently by The Herald-Mail called Hagerstown blogs. If you missed that column, "blog" is short for Web log, as in the World Wide Web.

I first read about blogs as something teens were doing as a kind of an online diary that their friends could read to find out what was going on in their lives, what new CDs they'd purchased and so forth.

What I didn't realize was that blogs have become political tools as well. Blogs probably affected the last presidential election when bloggers, as they're called, successfully demanded that the mainstream media look at the claims put forth against John Kerry by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

That hasn't happened here yet, although there are letter-writers who are capable of being top-notch bloggers. They do extensive research, digging into government reports posted online and asking hard questions about them. They apply expertise gained in business and government service to explore what local government officials are doing.


What they haven't done yet is sign up at, so I can't review their stuff. I can tell readers what's there now and encourage them to post comments to give our first batch of bloggers some feedback.

Why should you look at The first and best reason for many readers would be that they can get an additional dose of laughter from Tim Rowland, who is writing humor columns in his blog that haven't appeared in The Herald-Mail.

But there are other treats there as well. They include:

- Mark Kelly's travel blog, which includes pieces on his family's visit to the Star Theater in Mercersburg, Pa., directions and attractions to see on Virginia's Skyline Drive and places to see and dine at in Chambersburg, Pa.

The nice thing about this format is that if you have been to Chambersburg, or any of the places he's visited, you can add a comment or a suggestion of your own. Doing that will begin an online conversation carried on by people for whom travel is a pleasurable, leisure-time activity.

- Gymcastgirl1 (no other name listed) offers a blog about gymnastics, a sport for which she says she trains up to 20 hours a week, which means giving up some other activities and rearranging her schedule. In her blog, she describes why it's worth doing.

"Of course, the sport is definitely worth it.


"Well, the feeling you get when you flip through the air, unaided, is something that can't be described," she writes.

- Mark Keller, Morning Herald sports editor, offers a blog on high school football, which he has covered for 10 years.

Keller invites comments, saying that "I love to hear people tell me I'm right, though that doesn' happen often. I also know that most people like to point out to me when I'm wrong, so join the crowd. The more the merrier. Bring it on. I can take it. Probably."

- Reporter Tara Reilly is writing "Catholic Talk in the Tri-State." Her blog is updated daily and in addition to her own thoughts, it includes clips from other sources about things happening within the church.

Reilly includes a section with facts about local Catholic churches and their activities, another that attempts to correct misconceptions about the faith and even a few (tasteful) Catholic jokes.

- Tiffany, also known as PC (pop culture) blogger, writes about music, fashion, cultural exhibits. Her blog includes an interesting piece about her first impressions of Hagerstown. She explains what her blog is about about in this way:

"Readers of this blog can expect occasional postings on topics related to pop culture. All are encouraged to post comments. Columns are generated when the author is mentally off the clock, so expect typos, bad grammar and so forth. Call it thinking out loud."

Unlike the newspaper, if you don't get to these today, they'll still be posted tomorrow. Please think about joining the conversation and offering a blog of your own at

Bob Maginnis is editorial page editor of The Herald-Mail newspapers.

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