Last night found me attending the Morning Call’s First Annual My Choice Best Blogs of the Lehigh Valley awards presentation in support of the Noise Nation Horn and Bell Blog and the Matt Metal Blog. Both bloggers are personal friends of mine and I have recently started contributing articles about the Lehigh Valley Roller Girls for the Horn and Bell. The Matt Metal Blog and the Horn and Bell were nominated in multiple categories (rules only allowed blogs to win in the single category where they received the highest overall votes) with Matt Metal prevailing in the music category and Horn and Bell was triumphant in the Phillies category.
The awards ceremony was held at the Palace catering facility located on Allentown’s East Side. Light fare was available to nosh on prior to the presentations. There was seating set up for over a hundred people but sadly only about 25 were in attendance. Many of the winners were not present to accept their awards. I am not sure if this was due to short notice on the part of the Morning Call or apathy on the part of some of the bloggers. I was kind of dismayed that more nominees were not on hand to accept their plaques. Fortunately the folks in attendance were enthusiastic about the possibility of their blogs earning an award.
Blogs and traditional print media have had a somewhat contentious relationship over the years. Newspaper readership is down in large numbers and many dailies have folded. More people are turning to blogs to bridge the gap in local news and specialty coverage. I believe that both can co-exist and that a good blogger can keep the mainstream media on their toes. The Morning Call has obviously recognized the service the local bloggers provide to the community by honoring these outstanding blogs. The staff of the Morning Call seemed genuinely pleased to honor the bloggers and to speak with them about their work.
For me, it was a chance to provide support to my friends’ hard work and also to meet some of the bloggers whose work I admire. Dan Kehl, the editor of the Horn and Bell blog has worked diligently to grow his readership, what started out as an Iron Pigs fan blog, has grown to include other sports such as the new Steel Hawks indoor football team. He has graciously allowed me a forum to post about women’s flat track roller derby (one of the fastest growing sports in the country), and he has become the de facto source to keep updated on the Iron Pigs and Philadelphia Phillies farm system. He is starting to be considered a legitimate media source and I am pleased to see him finally recognized for his hard work.
The Matt Metal blog is a fairly new entrant into the blogosphere, but he has come out of the gate running hard. Matt Metal may be new to blogging but he certainly isn’t a newcomer to the Lehigh Valley music scene. His blog is a perfect complement to his weekly radio show which can be heard on WXLV 90.3 every Friday from 6 – 9pm (also available streaming online or on iPhone and android devices). If something is happening in the Lehigh Valley music scene chances are Matt Metal is there. Matt Metal brings his 15 plus years experience on the local music scene to his blog as well as keeping readers informed about other topics of importance such as the recent turmoil in the Allentown school district.
Other notable blogs that were winners last night are Lehigh Valley with Love (best news blog), edited by George Wacker, Save the Kales (best food blog) and Heart of Steel City (best neighborhood blog) which were dual winners for author Jamie Karpovich.
The Morning Call has promised this is the first of what will be an annual event. I hope that is the case, the lackluster turnout may have them thinking otherwise. Please bloggers come out and accept your award if you get nominated next year. Someone thought you were worthy enough for nomination, and your readers took the time to vote for your work (that voting system wasn’t exactly user friendly). As a new blogger I can only hope to be on par one day with these interesting voices in the valley. A tip of my cap to all the winners and an extra cheer for those who were in attendance. See ya next year!
You can check out all the award winning blogs once the Morning Call launches their newly revamped blogosphere page sometime within the next two weeks. In the meantime you will find links to the winning blogs mentioned here on the Corner Seat blogroll located on the sidebar.