As I expressed last week when thinking about the Huffington Post boycott and its broader implications for the blogosphere, I noted that we are long past the time when the blogosphere was the relative meritocracy of the mid 2000s. It is extremely difficult for an individual new to blogging to rise up the totem pole. We mostly read the same blogs we’ve read since 2006. An overstatement of course, but not entirely inaccurate either. And while I try to search out new sites, I am pretty much as guilty of this as anyone. After all, how many blogs can one person read?
Anyway, as someone recently pulled out of deep obscurity, I know that while I may deserve my increased readership (though you may disagree), a lot of other people also deserve your attention.
So about once a week, I am going to try and promote a blog that you all may not have read. I will try to make them relatively obscure sites, but of course, I only know so many as well. So feel free to leave suggestions in comments. Or send me an e-mail with ideas. Because I want all of us to recognize the many cool voices out there who toil without comments or with only local or niche readership.
The first site I’d like to highlight is Coal Tattoo. This isn’t the most obscure site in the world, as it is a blog of the Charleston (WV) Gazette, but it still has a fairly small and I think local readership. Written by Ken Ward, Jr., Coal Tattoo provides first-rate coverage of the coal industry, particularly in West Virginia. Moreover, Ward provided outstanding coverage of the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster of 2010 which killed 29 workers. Ward provides a rare voice among the West Virginia media who is openly critical of the coal industry. For anyone interested in issues of environment, labor, or Appalachia, and more specifically for anyone who wants to follow how one of the world’s most evil industries controls, denudes, and physically reshapes an entire state, Coal Tattoo is a great read.