Local gardening blogger Susan Harris contacted me to say she – and other DC area bloggers – are up in arms over the decision of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments to hire a Florida garden blogger to write the new Metro DC Lawn and Garden Blog.
I have two reactions. First, congrats to the Metro Washington Council of Governments for having the energy and foresight to create a blog for local gardeners. There are lots of us, whether we’re tending to lavish yards or just a few pots on the front steps. And with Washington’s wilting heat and winter freezing, we have plenty of questions.
Second, shame on the Metro Council for not looking in their, er, back yard before hiring a blogger.
Apparently, they advertised on ProBlogger’s job board and thus found the Florida-based writer Betsy Franz. Susan points out that it’s not hard to find local garden writing talent through magazines like Washington Gardener (which has a corresponding listserv on Yahoo groups).
After last week’s amazing Digital Capital Week, it’s difficult to understand how anyone could overlook the breadth and depth of digital talent here in the DC area. I don’t want to get into the specifics of evaluating the bona fides of garden bloggers (I don’t have the chops to do that) but this is an obvious case of not listening locally before launching a local blog. I checked the mission of the blog to make sure the focus is truly local. It is:
“Welcome to the Metro DC Lawn and Garden Blog — your source for all things green in Washington, DC and surrounding areas. If you’re looking to swap tips, share stories, have more fun, and take better care of your lawn and garden, then you’ve come to the right place!”
I’d be interested to hear what the thinking was behind staffing up this new blog with an out-of-stater.