Fearful Symmetries

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01 January, 2014

The End of a Chapter in the Madison Blogosphere

Back in the mid-2000s blogs were becoming a big deal and the folks at madison.com sought to capitalize on the trend. There were, if memory serves, a couple of experiments to integrate bloggers with Madison's daily papers. The one I recall is POST, a section of their website which provided a curated list of local blog posts. POST became a weekly paper which (gasp!) paid local bloggers to have their material appear in the tabloid. Isthmus too had a section devoted to daily highlights from Madison's blogosphere. In 2005 Dane101 began as a "collaborative news and arts blog for Madison and Dane County, Wisconsin".

POST came and went while Isthmus ditched their quotidian round-up in favor of hiring a small stable of bloggers to contribute. Dane101 lost much of its news component but remained a good source for arts coverage and it maintained Dane101.net, a feed of local blogs headlines.

In November the proprietors of Dane101 announced that the site would go out of business on the 27th of this month. Dane101.net had been dead for a while and they were unable "to create a self-sustaining model".

In June of 2012 The Onion's A.V. Club Madison shuttered its virtual doors. About a year later some of those A.V. Club alumni started Arts Extract, a blog and podcast devoted to "reporting and comment on the arts in Madison, WI". About a week ago the site announced that it would not make it into 2014. I've not heard an explanation for AA's demise.

It would seem that most of the promise of blogs from a decade or so ago never came to fruition. To be sure, there is a cadre of bloggers who get some nods from the media establishment to have posts sit along newspaper editorials from around the state but, by and large, the grand experiments that sought to meld news from below with news from above have failed. If you want arts coverage for Madison, you are, generally speaking, left with the same options you had prior to the experiments - Isthmus and Madison Newspaper's 77 Square.

So what's next for the Madison blogosphere? Time will tell but I hope that someone starts up an aggregator because it would be nice to have one place to go where I can discover what's out there.

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|| Palmer, 12:33 PM

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