Have the Virginia Political Blogs Died?

By Lloyd the Idiot

When I moved to Richmond six months ago, and earnestly sought out some local political blogs – not so much to be antagonistic, but just to know what’s going on locally.

Found basically nothing locally.  There’s Richmond Sunlight, which is dead – plus pretty lefty.  The Times-Dispatch Politics blog hasn’t been updated in weeks.  Nothing at all for Chesterfield County.

All that brings me back here.  And to Loudoun.  No doubt the vitality of the Loudoun blogosphere was due in large part to the efforts of Loudoun Insider.   Now that he has moved on, even the Loudoun scene is pretty weak (my apologies, Liberal Anthropologists, but the posts here are fairly infrequent).  Novatownhall.com and Black Velvet Bruce Li are just not the same.   Seems like the only ones commenting these days are a handful of people who do nothing but comment on political blogs.  Even major blogs like Bearing Drift and Not Larry Sabato just don’t seem to get the traffic or comments they used to.  Have people just gotten sick of them?   Has the mainstream politico just had enough?  Moved on to Twitter, perhaps?

As a writer, I really don’t care.  Really, I don’t.  I’ve said many times before that I just write to get things off my chest.  If someone reads and finds it entertaining, then great.  If they’re offended, even better.

Twitter.  Hmm.  Now there’s an idea.


  • John Marsh says:

    Might the demise of blogs, and this one, have something to do with the intemperate expressions and black & white intellectual approaches of writers and commentators? Might this form be stopping, or at least discouraging, more than fostering thought and interchange?

  • Satchmo says:

    Excellent question.

    My take is impactful bloggers like Loudoun Insider and Joe over at NTH spend an enormous amount of personal time researching the posts they penned. The basis for the posts was citizen reporting. I know it took a lot of calls, a lot of attendance at meetings, and a nose for controversy. The blog posts were always though provoking and stirred a great deal of interest and participation. They weren’t always correct, but the smoke they identified usually lead to some level of truth, one way or the other. The quality is sorely missed.

    The incumbents now seem to only post personal diatribes. Nothing new just opinions. They provide a soft forum for issue debate but nothing substantial.

    Further, LI and Joe covered local politics. A subject that has a great void in this area. In my opinion local newspapers tend to only print press releases, nothing against the reporters, I think it is an economical issue for print newspapers, not enough money to invest in significant investigative reporting efforts. Not all the time, but a significant amount of time.

    I think the community that participated in the original hay day of Loudoun blogs is still interested in the medium, but starved for thought provoking and insightful posts. Some have found outlets via the local news websites, and on occasion old names pop up on TC and NTH so I think folks are still checking in from time to time.

    These days the only real void filler has been http://realloudoun.com/ The dude brings heat, whether folks agree with his prose or not. It is unfortunate that he doesn’t open his blog up for comment.

  • David Dickinson says:

    The one and probably only time I’m in full agreement with Satchmo.

  • Liberal Anthropologist says:

    I agree with Lloyd also, but don’t have a solution. I cannot fill LI’s shoes and never will. I am not involved enough in the local scene to know half the players let alone the gossip. I have always been open about that. I can therefore only mainly post on national topics. Furthermore, I have a very intense job with lots of travel, a family, and other activities. Blogging time does not allow for much research. I wish I could. I know I could produce better posts if I did. But you can get sucked into this world in a way that is harmful to your “real” life. It has happened to others in the past.

    I am still hopeful that another LI will come along to be the meat on top of my filler. LI put a tremendous amount of time into this. I don’t know who has the time since nobody gets paid for this kind of thing.

    I currently view what we have is a kind of debate club. TC seems to attract a greater diversity of left leaning views than perhaps other conservative blogs do. Perhaps because we are mainly libertarian in outlook. I enjoy it. I wish it could be more. But until it is, I am happy to continue the debates with the usual folks as long as they want to have them.

  • Liberal Anthropologist says:

    We could all switch over to CB radio with the same handles if you like…. 🙂

  • Satchmo says:

    LA, my comments weren’t meant to come off so personal to you. You try, and that’s a heck of a lot more than others.

    You might think TC attracted or does attract left leaning views. I would say it became a home for those literally kicked out of the LCRC and those who think the committee is half full of lunatics and the other half a bunch of folks not willing or afraid to take on the lunatics. With that said, I must say there are a lot of good folks within there. I am speaking about the general dynamics of a dysfunctional outfit.

  • John Marsh says:

    I too appreciate LA’s humility and second Satchmo’s amplification. Keep working. I’m an older guy reflecting upbringing in rural Republicanism, albeit up north, when the GOP hadn’t become so one-dimensional. It’s a party as far from true conservatism as the Democrats, as Michael Gerson, and David Brooks lament. TC fails when it so quickly labels an opinion as left or right when our hope lies in simply trying to solve short and long-term problems with sensible fiscal, social, environmental, and entrepreneurial solutions.

  • David Dickinson says:

    LA, you do a very good job.

    It is more that one of the legs of the stool is missing and hasn’t been replaced. The other legs of the stool are doing just fine…but a piece is still missing.

  • NotJohnSMosby says:

    This blog is mostly pieces of stool these days, that’s for sure.

  • Satchmo says:

    Haha, a voice appears out of the woodwork. People are still lurking.

  • Wolverine says:

    “half full of lunatics” Meet the local poster boy for “intemperate expressions.”

  • It’s like a freakin’ Star Trek convention

  • Not impressed says:

    Blogs can’t and don’t replace professional journalists. There are not really any of these around Loudoun despite some who have the talent but not the editorial leadership. One local newspaper just had a complete editorial turnover that no one even noticed. That paper has been whipsawed between hard right and hard left opportunists who used it to stroke their egos and fire up their personal vendettas. The other one has raised timidity to previously unscalable heights of cowardice. Editing and reporting is, or perhaps was, a profession. This is the first time the body politic has tried to carry on without the Fourth Estate. How is is working? Not that well.

  • John Marsh says:

    To see how far we’ve come, thanks in part to instant communication fostering immediate response without thought, read Doris Kearn Goodwin’s “The Bully Pulpit” and the critical role of investigative journalists whose 10,000 word pieces got read by masses and changed opinions and policies.

    I happen to believe that our local papers in Loudoun could actually do a bit of investigative journalism and people might read. But… maybe not, given blog evidence.

  • David Dickinson says:

    “There are not really any of these around Loudoun despite some who have the talent but not the editorial leadership. ”

    Leesburg Today has a couple of actual journalists. But that is it. Loudoun Times seems to be interested in just driving advertising revenue.

    “One local newspaper just had a complete editorial turnover that no one even noticed. ”

    LTM, I presume. I had hoped some good would come out of it and then that pathetic editorial on fully funding the school budget came out. I don’t agree with the position, but the writing was so weak it made me groan. So much for a step up.

    Leesburg Today was purchased about a year and a half ago. I didn’t notice any degradation of quality and the print version became more aesthetically appealing.

    But, in short, you would think we would have a more robust media presence in Loudoun.

  • Satchmo says:

    The Washington Post does an excellent job when they are directed our way. Caitlin Gibson and Tom Jackman are very good reporters.

    We just need more of their time.

  • Not impressed says:

    Good reporters don’t need to be steered to news. The Post is not a local paper; there are two of those that make their money from local advertisers. But the story about how Delgaudio makes his money, and what he does with it, was broken by a group of researchers in Montgomery, Alabama.
    The story about his alleged abuse of his staff came from one of his employees. These stories lurked for years if not decades with no danger of being reported by the LTM or Leesburg Today.

  • David Dickinson says:

    I heard yesterday that the Patch nationally had a large number of layoffs (in the hundreds), but they only had 900 employees to start with. Not that the Patch was a major player locally, but it is one more dent.

    Frankly, I’m not sure what the future of journalism will look like. With all the fluff driving advertising revenue, which is what the money-grubbers really want, I don’t see how there is a significant enough amount of revenue to keep good journalists employed, excepting in the largest Metro areas, but that cuts the other 70% of the population out of the picture.

    I once toyed with the idea of starting the Public Journalist System (a take off PBS) which would have an annual drive like PBS for membership and would sell limited adds too. But I couldn’t figure out how to make it work.

    In an age where cronyism is rampant and corruption is so broad-based, you’d think there would be an explosion of journalists but, alas, the opposite seems to be true.

  • Not impressed says:

    Patch’s major layoff locally was 2 years ago. At some point Tge Leesburg

  • Not impressed says:

    Oops operator error. Leesburg Patch blipped off the Internet sometime but no one seemed to notice. Great concept, monetization failed.

  • PS says:

    This one reports on a judge in the Delgaudio matter: http://tinyurl.com/kbdxwxx

  • FirewallNOVA says:

    Try this one: firewallnova.com

  • Cargosquid says:

    I think that people are burned out.

    Blogging across the “sphere” has diminished. I’ve seen in it the gun blogs.

    On purely political blogs….I think that we’ve just looked at what’s happening and realized that no one else really cares. Look at who has been elected.

    I get more response from comments on other blogs than I do at UCV. We’re a miniscule blog. And real life has interfered with the actual blogging. I just realized that my first blog post was seven years ago. I think that a lot of bloggers are just tired.

  • liberal anthropologist says:

    Yes. And it is just a hobby. A chance to vent. Life is more important.

  • Eric the 1/2 Troll says:

    Ping Bill Fox:

    Noticed you did not vote for a public hearing to close the western Hamilton community-based schools. A positive move, imo. Care to share your thoughts with us?

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