Monday, September 26, 2005

Chas Rich Wins Well-Deserved National Honors

A smart and savvy Cleveland writer, blogger and journalist who has put his legal training to good use in closely analyzing regional news coverage has just been nationally recognized for his fine work. Eastlake-based Chas Rich, a graduate of Case law school and a guy who also writes about his daughter and his beloved Pitt Panthers, has just been recognized by the Online News Association for his Neobabble blog, in the category of online commentary for mid-sized websites. The annual awards, which have become online journalism's most prestigious, are jointly administered by the ONA and the Univ. of Southern California Journalism School, which has been ahead of all other programs (with only the possible exception of NYU's J-school) in recognizing and nurturing online journalism, principally through its always-interesting Online Journalism Review.

This is also a special moment for my friend Denise Polverine, a fellow SPJ board member, who sits on the board of ONA and who no doubt nominated his work for this prize. While is a regular target for abuse from local bloggers (often deservedly so) Neobabble is the direct result of her facing criticism head-on. Several months ago Denise attended a blogger meet-up, buying a few rounds of beers for the rabble and listening to complaints about the site. She had an ulterior motive for braving abuse: she was looking for a few bloggers to add to her lineup, and Chas was the prize catch that day. His site (whose name still strikes many, including me, as at least faintly disrespectful of the entire blog form) is often promoted as the marquee blog on the blog section. Chas's new gig momentarily unnerved our friend George of BFD, who was worried that his role as the hub would be eclipsed (at it turned out, nothing of the sort happened). Chas is an innovator. In a classic bit of blogger innovation, he has worked out his own system for allowing readers to comment on Neobabble, since offers no such capability. He simply refers would-be commenters to his legacy blog, where he posts their comments.

I hereby move that the next gathering of local bloggers be devoted to a celebration for the Sardonic One, our friend Chas.


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