After a period of uncertainty over the future of the most widely read political blog in Connecticut, Chris Bigelow (who posted under the byline Ghengis Conn), announced on the blog that the end had come. Bigelow had departed from personally maintaining the blog at the time of the municipal elections this past November to “spend more time with his family”.
GC explained that he had found his attention turning to other interests and obligations, including the fact that he was spending more of his time in western Massachussetts, and that he didn’t have the passion for the project – which was a hobby – required to do it to the level of quality that he wished.
A few days prior to Bigelow’s February 1 announcement, former GOP State Central Committee Executive Director and current Yankee Institute Policy Director Heath Fahle announced that he had accepted a gig writing opinion for the well-respected CT NewsJunkie, operated by the team of Doug Hardy and lead reporter and editor-in-chief Christine Stuart (they are husband and wife, making this something like the equivalent of a mom-and-pop shop). Fahle had been the principal contributor from the right on CTLP, and (with the departure of Bigelow) functioned as the de facto operator of CTLP along with Sarah Littman, a principal front-page contributor to CTLP from the left.
A couple of comments about this development, from a sometime participant in the evolving on-line media world. First, what Bigelow did was truly an impressive accomplishment, and at the same time an unintended consequence of a simple and important activity – wanting to share his work making political maps, which he did for his own edification and amusement (as he explained to me back at the very beginning of his blog when there were – I kid thee not – something like sixteen views on the blog’s counter). There is nothing I can add to the ocean of analysis and comment about the medium and the impact of the web log (blog) platform, the story of CTLocalpolitics speaks with the eloquence of a motion picture picture to that.
That said, I view CTNewsjunkie and sister site the New Haven Independent as natural steps beyond the personal blog that CTLocalpolitics began as and, in the end, ultimately was. CTNJ is owned and operated by people who are perhaps no more passionate about their work than their colleagues at CTLP, but happen to be professional journalists and entrepreneurs. These folks are at the leading edge of those engaged with (amongst other things) answering a big question: how one can devote the time to work in this genre and do it well, and still pay the rent and put food on the table?
So for me it is both natural and poetic that a professional political operative is moving to this venue and that this small development signals the demise of a personal project of self-expression that became something that professional journalists regarded as of nearly professional quality.
Into the space that CTLP helped create have already moved several projects in addition to CTNJ & NHI, including CTCapitolReport.com – a Drudge-like amalgamator of political headlines, and links to all manner of online sources for content political – the just-launched CTMirror.com, and a spectrum of hyper-local blogs, special interest blogs, opinion blogs… Really, the milieu defies categorization and I am incidentally a bit bemused by the meta-stocrats impotence in coming to grips with it.
The soundstage belongs for now to the performers and line producers. We’ll just have to see what happens next and, perhaps, contribute to the next scene.