Anniversary Week In The Blogosphere

TV Feeds My Family.  Fading To Black.  Toronto Sun Family. 
What do these three blogs have in common?  They’re all celebrating anniversaries this week.
On December 2, 2007, former Toronto Sun TV critic Bill Brioux posted his first entry on his new website, TV Feeds My Family.  It was a shameless plug for his first book, Truth & Rumours, which became available on New Year’s Eve that year.  (As he helpfully reminded readers this past Tuesday, it’s still in print for those looking to buy gifts for friends and family this holiday season.  By the way, I wrote about the blog and the book here.)  Some 400 follow-up entries later, the site is entering its second year with welcome plans for expansion.  After twelve months of breaking the occasional news story, and offering opinions, YouTube clips, pictures and touching eulogies, Brioux is hoping to add original “video reports” and better showcase posted links to his AM radio appearances on CHML in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and WIMA in Lima, Ohio, not to mention his weekly Canadian Press articles, and other freelance pieces that have found their way in both The Toronto Sun and The Toronto Star.
In just one year, the site has received nearly 100,000 hits, a terrific start.  Thanks to the stupidity of Quebecor who fired him two years ago, Brioux has more influence now than ever before.  And with a book about late night Television in the works, 2009 is going to be another busy year for the Brampton-based author.  This website congratulates Bill on a strong year of blogging.  I’ve been a fan since his TV Guide interviews with Siskel & Ebert back in the early 1990s.
On December 3, 2006, a new site called Fading To Black debuted.  Billing itself as “a look at the downward spiral of the newspaper industry in the 21st century”, its first piece was a brief, critical commentary on the state of The Toronto Sun.  I found out about the site through my Statistics page.  “Another Casualty”, the founder of the site, had rather flatteringly praised my Loser Of The Year item on Sun Media and linked to it in his debut offering.  We started exchanging emails.  AC passed on some helpful info about The Sun and I would return the favour by sending links about the decline of the newspaper business, a fair number of which were used for FTB.
In the spring of 2007, I was offered an opportunity to contribute items directly onto the site.  From April that year to January 2008, I filed nearly 150 pieces (which you can still read on my website by perusing my FTB lists).  But the beat was depressing.  (We are talking about cutbacks, layoffs, forced retirements, lockouts, strikes and publications going bankrupt, after all.)  When it became clear that I couldn’t take it anymore, I emailed my resignation to AC who respectfully understood and wished me well.  If you thought 2007 was a rough year for the media, 2008 has been even more sobering.  AC has had no shortage of material to link to and occasionally comment on since I left the site.  Beginning in July, Fading To Black has been posting roughly 200 entries per month.  Last year, including my contributions, the site had over 600 items for readers to check out.  This year, with just a few weeks left before the arrival of 2009, there have been over 1200.  Considering the current state of the business, that number undoubtedly will continue to rise.
I want to congratulate Another Casualty for sticking with the site these past two years.  It couldn’t have been easy.  Like Bill Brioux, AC is one of my blogging buddies and a good friend.  Despite cold, calculating reality staring us all in the face, here’s hoping the worst of the media’s troubles have passed.
Finally, there’s The Toronto Sun Family Blog.  Exactly two years ago today, former reporter John Cosway, no stranger to blogging, launched his indispensible site for all things Sun Media.  It has been a forum for readers, current employees and ex-employees to vent, praise, mourn, celebrate, and report on what’s been happening with not only this troubled company (currently owned by the widely loathed Quebecor) but also the tabloid that started it all.  Cosway’s an entertaining, sensible writer and a good man.  When I wrote about being dumped by my girlfriend last year, he wrote me a nice email encouraging me to hang in there and keep blogging.  It was much appreciated.  Not only that, he’s even commented on some of my occasional Sun Media pieces, offering links and genuine praise.  When he feels the need to point out something you write, it makes you feel important and part of the blogosphere.  I’ve tried to return the favour a number of times in this space.
After almost 1000 entries, a good number of which were reports not broken anywhere else, the site has received over 150,000 hits, as of this writing.  It does a far better job of reporting on the inside operations of The Sun than any other outlet.  Furthermore, John Cosway has never been afraid to throw his opinions out there.  During the recent U.S. Presidential campaign, he made it abundantly clear that John McCain wasn’t the candidate for him.  If only a substantial number of Sun columnists felt the same way. 
Congratulations to TSF on its second anniversary on the web.
Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Monday, December 8, 2008
12:56 a.m.
Published in: on December 8, 2008 at 12:57 am  Leave a Comment  

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