West Side Stories

A Tosa resident for almost 20 years, Karen is a mom and freelance writer, addicted to playing tennis. When not on the tennis court, she spends the fall and winter in the stands at Green Bay Packer and Marquette basketball games.

Karen is the author of “Grab a Bite,” a dining out column and the former community columnist for the Wauwatosa NOW newspaper.

Why I Blog


Sometimes I’m asked why I blog. (Most other times, people don’t really want to know and I’m looked at with a mixture of scorn and pity as if I just admitted that I collect dead bugs.)


Well, the answer, for me, is that I blog because deep inside, I’m still an adolescent. I’m still that awkward, chubby girl with bad skin, sitting in my bedroom, listening to Elton John and writing madly in my diary. For me, writing has always been the only way to explain what was going on in my head. But that’s only half of it.


I also blog because, if I’m lucky, once a year, somebody will come up to me in the grocery store or at the car wash, and say: “I like what you wrote. You get it.” To me, a simple comment like that makes me walk on air for a week. And it helps me forget when my dad asks me about “that thing you’re doing for free…your…what do you call it – glog?!”


We bloggers are certainly not doing it for the money, because, there is none. And although some bloggers out there on the internet are paid, I have neither the knowledge nor the wherewithal to figure out how to make that happen. Besides, the 10 or 20 Wauwatosa people that stumble on my blog are a decent audience. Heck, that’s a good-sized crowd for Thanksgiving, so who am I to complain?


This week, about 30 of us blogging types gathered at the Journal Sentinel offices. We came from all corners of the metro-Milwaukee area. We all have different reasons to blog and different ways of going about it. Some want to effect change in their communities.  Others, like me, just have the writing bug and wouldn’t mind adding a touch of humor or interest to somebody’s day.


On hand to cheer us on were “the bigs” from the Journal Sentinel: President and Publisher, Betsy Brenner, Sr. VP/Editor Marty Kaiser and Sr. VP/Interactive Media and Audience Development Sharon Prill. They told us that we were “the future” of what’s going on in journalism (Ray Py will love hearing that) and that they were working hard to stay on top of current and emerging trends. We even got a sneak peek at some new website technology that will affect us all, hopefully, in a positive way.


We were given ample opportunity to ask anything we wanted about the Journal Sentinel. The one question that I had, and was asked by someone else, was about the future of the Journal Sentinel. Brenner and Kaiser answered deftly, albeit also vaguely, basically explaining that recent changes made were based on market conditions and information that was available more readily and more up-to-date elsewhere (such as stock quotes). It’s an uphill battle. Sadly (a self-defeating statement coming from a blogger), more and more people are getting their news from the internet. The Journal Sentinel is working hard to get a piece of that action, but I can’t help but be concerned about the future of my favorite early morning routine – reading the local paper. Unfortunately, there are fewer and fewer of us reading the Journal Sentinel every day. Sigh.


I guess what I’m saying is three-fold: First, if you read my blog or other blogs, thanks. It means a lot. Second, be sure to share your thoughts, either through comments or e-mails. We don’t get paid, but feedback is awesome payback. Third, if you love reading the paper, subscribe to it, talk about it, buy it and talk about it some more. It won’t survive if readership dwindles. If you don’t like what you read, tell them about it. They welcome any and all comments.


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