BLOG WORTHY: Crowley (left) and Jerzyk (center)
Earlier this year, Matt Jerzyk revealed (see "Media rebels in the Internet age," News, May 1) that he would be selling his almost four-year-old blog, Rhode Island's Future (rifuture.org), which has played an important role in establishing the local blogosphere and advancing the cause of alternative media in the Ocean State.
On Tuesday evening, during a Drinking Liberally event at the Wild Colonial in Providence, blog contributor Patrick Crowley, a liberal firebrand who works as the deputy director of the National Education Association Rhode Island, was formally unveiled as the new owner of Rhode Island's Future. His acquisition of the blog is due to be completed January 1. Jerzyk, who graduated this year from Roger Williams University Law School (disclosure: he's a friend of mine) is now focusing on his legal career.
Jerzyk's choice of a successor (for undisclosed terms) makes good sense, on a number of levels. The two men share a common grounding in community- and union-organizing. They are unapologetic liberals who each have a good nose for real news (Crowley has demonstrated this, for example, with posts, which received subsequent ProJo attention, about how Governor Carcieri and his wife owed back taxes on a vacation property, and about how a putative new reform group, TransformRI, was linked to Carcieri supporters). And they both embrace new technology as a highly desirable form for political communication.
Here are some questions I put to Crowley:
WHY ARE YOU BUYING RI'S FUTURE?
The mainstream media doesn't provide adequate coverage of the things that matter to me and many other activists. The only way to beat the system is to be the media.
IS ANY OTHER PERSON OR ORGANIZATION INVOLVED IN YOUR ACQUISITION OF THE BLOG?
No, just me.
HOW WILL THE BLOG BE SIMILAR/DIFFERENT? WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR IT?
The physical structure will remain virtually unchanged. It has proven to be a winning formula. What will change is there will be more writers, and I will be encouraging more people to write diaries. There will be more members of the General Assembly writing for the blog than there are elected Republicans! I also plan to encourage readers to pick their favorite stories of the week by integrating Facebook surveys. Also, I have been experimenting with a live video feature.
Also, I am going to encourage not just progressive voices, but new voices, even if they may not fit the typical left leaning focus of the blog. Taking note of President[-elect] Obama's approach to politic, we must admit that progressives don't have a monopoly on the best ideas.
HOW DO YOU SEE THE ROLE OF RI'S FUTURE? We give people the chance to "be the media." For too long what was considered newsworthy had to pass through filters and layer of review. Often, things that are really important get lost in that process. So if we give people the chance to be the media we can be a thorn in the side of the powerful, but also a valuable asset to the community.