A small blip in the blogosphere occurred last week, and while we fully recognize it wasn't as earth shattering as, say, footage of Balloon Boy, it still made us proud.
On Oct. 16, the Indy published its 100th blog post at the recently redesigned missoulanews.com. The 240-word entry by reporter Jessica Mayrer broke the news that the alleged rifle-toting cop-shooter captured just days earlier on Stephens Avenue had recently been an employee at the Montana State Prison and carried a history of violent criminal offenses. In light of the incident, a Department of Corrections spokesman told Mayrer that he expects the prison to reevaluate its hiring practices.
It's not the first time we've used our new blog to break news. On Sept. 1, we were the first to report that embattled state Sen. Greg Barkus' 2004 reckless driving conviction actually started as a charge for driving under the influence; Lee Newspapers printed the story the following day. On Sept. 3, we picked up on the arrest of a former senior pastor at South Hills Evangelical Church on charges of soliciting prostitution in Minnesota before any other local media.
It's not all hard news, of course. We've reported on miniature donkeys getting eaten by Canadian grizzlies, reviewed Huey Lewis' performance during the Ratdog concert at the Wilma, and noted a Colorado newspaper's search for a legitimate medical marijuana critic. We've also expanded on cover stories from our print edition, offered links to the best alternative journalism from around the country and soon hope to add access to our most popular syndicated content. The point is that we have a new outlet for Indy-style coverage, one that we update, so far, about 10–12 times per week. More importantly, readers no longer have to wait until Thursdays for their dose of the Indy.
The blog makes up just one small corner of our new website, and, in a perfect world, you're going to help us make it better. By creating a log-in account—we simply ask that you provide a username and password, nothing more—you can post comments on stories and blog posts, as well as add new content to our site. That means reader reviews of local restaurants, art exhibits, movies and concerts are featured online—and perhaps eventually in the print edition.
Like any online venture, all of this is a work in progress. But now that the initial bugs are worked out, we wanted to spread the news. We may even blog about it.