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Commissioners use blog and podcasts to get information out

August 26, 2006|by TARA REILLY

WASHINGTON COUNTY - You won't be hearing Washington County Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook plug his favorite sports team or rant about this year's Emmy nominations on Washington County's new blog.

No personal cheers or jeers allowed.

What you will find are highlights of County Commissioners meetings, county news and interviews with county officials.

The e-George blog for podcasts is an attempt to get county information out in a quick and interesting manner, Public Information Officer Norman Bassett said Thursday.

"We want to get information out to people," Bassett said. "We don't want to put them to sleep."

People may listen to the podcasts on a computer, and download the information to iPods or other MP3 players. New information will be posted every week, Bassett said.

Kim Artz, county Web page administrator, said the site gives people the opportunity to listen to the podcasts whenever they have time - in the car, mowing the grass or while they work.

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"I think it's really convenient for the citizens who might be interested in learning about what's going on in the county," Artz said.

A 15-minute radio program called Commissioners' Comments, which airs on WJEJ-AM and WICL-FM, also is in podcast form on the site.

The radio program features comments by Snook, Hagerstown Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II and other government officials.

Bassett said the county podcasts might interest age groups that normally don't follow local government news.

"If it's not on MTV, the Internet ... they just don't even tune in," Bassett said. "Getting to that audience is a little bit different."

The site has been running for several days. It also includes links to where visitors can read more in-depth summaries of commissioners meetings written by Bassett.

Artz said the site is easy to maintain and update. Almost as quickly as news comes in, it can be posted to the blog, she said.

"It's so simple to use that you can have anything up and running in a couple of minutes," she said.

The blog can be found at egeorge.blogspot.com, and links can be found at www.washco-md.net or www.iTunes.com.

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