Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Shifting Winds of Independent Media

Shifting Winds of Independent Media

So, I've noticed some changing in the St. Louis City-based blogging and independent political publications scene in recent months:

  • Sadly, Marti Frumhoff passed away two months ago, just as her long-awaited Main Street St. Louis initiative was getting underway.

  • Dave Drebes' Arch City Chronicle ceases publication, and ACC blogging shifts to largely cover Missouri state politics, as Dave focuses more on his new project, Missouri Scout, a fee-based online information service. It's understandable, given the publication has never made a profit, according to the note Dave posted on the blog.

  • Brian Marston and Amanda Doyle continue to periodically update The Commonspace Blog, but the e-zine is pretty sporadic at this point and the physical space closed up some time ago. It's understandable, given they both have lives and jobs, Brian having recently taken up a position that I'm sure keeps him quite busy, program director of the North St. Louis YouthBuild at the Friedens Neighborhood Foundation in historic Hyde Park.

  • Antonio French's Public Defender (bka "Pub Def") has, arguably, picked up some of the ACC market, although it, too, seems to have a lot of coverage of State politics as well as City politics, and probably less school-board coverage than it used to have. Of course, Antonio has to pay the bills too, so he is the political director for President of the Board of Alderman Lewis Reed, on the campaign payroll as Mr. French will openly proclaim.

  • Brian Horton, one of my long-time fellow travelers in aspiring to be an urban planner, announced his relocation to Charlotte, NC to pursue a new career opportunity. While I have enormous respect for Les Sterman, Steve Nagle, and the whole staff at East-West Gateway Council of Governments, I'm sure Brian realized (as I did when I was offered a position there in 2002) that the structure of this region largely ties the hands of EWG in making meaningful, long-term plans for the growth and development of St. Louis. While EWGCOG has a lot of authority in allocating Federal transportation dollars, the priorities still are mostly determined in Springfield IL and Jefferson City MO. And land-use planning is, realistically, locked up within local governments who are loathe to give up that authority.

  • Steve Wilke-Shapiro, instigator of the blog, announced his family is moving to Des Moines IA for a career opportunity. Again, perfectly smart decision, and I hope the new contributors to that blog can keep the momentum going.

  • Not that it is as dramatic nor significant as the other shifts mentioned above, but it's true my new job and other important matters have cut into my available time and topics for blogging. Just like the others (no, no not like THE Others...), I gotta pay the bills!

  • So, where does that leave the local urban political "blogosphere"? (I hate that made up word, but I guess it fits here.)

    There's still lots of folks plugging away, including Michael Allen and Claire Nowak-Boyd (OK, mostly Michael these days...) at Ecology of Absence, which has garnered considerably more attention lately; and of course Steve Patterson at Urban Review.

    And I'm sure I am leaving others out; if you know of any local interest blogs not featured on my blogroll at the left side of this page, particularly St. Louis City-oriented political and/or urban design issues, please let me know.

    Anyway, even as the folks who were involved in the early days of Metropolis Saint Louis, the Rehabbers Club, and the growth of the local political/urban planning blogs, move on to bigger and better things, I'm sure something will fill the gap.

    The Urban St. Louis message boards sure are hopping these days!


    Matt Fernandez said...

    All in all, I'd say we still have one of the healthier urban blogging communities out there. I wish I personally had more time to devote to actually getting some good content on StLEvolution, but it's pretty much turning into a blog to promote various things. 60 hours of work a week and Grad School starting soon doesn't leave much time. I do ghost write for the New Old North Blog (which is missing from your blog roll) of which I've made more posts to recently than my own. Alas, I spend an incredible amount of time at UrbanSTL. Those accounts don't just enable themselves after all.

    I guess career ambitions has taken me out as well, but I'll be in St. Louis for the long haul. You can always find me at UrbanSTL, deleting spam accounts trying to sell every drug imaginable, and sex for after.

    AmyCate said...

    Thanks for the info on current STL independent media happenings. Here's a worthwhile addition:

    The St. Louis Indymedia Center (STLIMC) is getting back on its feet now and will be unveiling the new website soon. We are working to make sure it comes back stronger than ever, as a solid, lasting, and powerful resource for our community.

    More news to come ...