I wish I could be as optimistic in this post as I was with the post on the state of the progressive movement. Progressive blogging at the state level (in all states, it seems), has been going through growing pains since 2009. State-level progressive blogs were really active between 2005 and the 2008 presidential election and had some significant impact on the 2006 and 2008 elections. In 2010, that virtually disappeared. There is no real surprise as to why, the biggest percentage of state bloggers were lost to the workforce. There was then, and is now, very little money flowing into state blogging and because of that, many of the most talented and thoughtful state-level bloggers have moved on to jobs that pay them well enough but don’t allow them to blog as much as they used to or at all.
This was particularly the case in Florida. 19 of the blogs that were nominated for 2007 Netroots Awards are either dormant or completely gone, including some of the best blogs that we had in Florida. A bunch of good Florida progressive blogs in recent years have come and gone or died completely. Many others are updated so infrequently that they aren’t as influential as they once were or could be. And even the best writers we have are often distracted by other things that they frequently miss important Florida stories. Too many of the active Florida bloggers write almost exclusively about national issues.
I’ll say for myself that I’ve been guilty of all of these things myself (except the national focus). I don’t write often enough and I spent more than a year working for a campaign that didn’t allow me to blog. My other work has frequently distracted me from writing about important stories (not to mention preventing me from engaging in offline activism).
This isn’t to say that we don’t have good writers writing good stuff about Florida, we do. But not enough. And we don’t have enough coverage of state and local events from enough different voices to get the job done. Luckily some of the activist organizations that I mentioned in the previous article have taken on some of what bloggers would’ve done in the past. And Facebook and Twitter have taken up a lot of the slack, but we still have to have more people investigating what Republicans in the state are doing and getting the stories out there so that the tweets can be tweeted and Facebook posts can be posted. I have some plans in place to improve my output and I’d like to see others do the same. We need it to happen if the state is going to move in the right direction. We need people getting the facts out there, we need people revealing the truth about conservatives, we need people covering the activism that the media ignores. This is a vital component of the future of the state and, while there are some people doing some great work, collectively we are failing in this important duty.