The blog of Frederick Clarkson

News of the Massachusetts Blogosphere

with 5 comments

“What the Bloggers are Saying,” is the title of a sidebar to the cover story about Democratic gubernatorial candidate Deval Patrick in this week’s Valley Advocate (also The Springfield Advocate). These papers cover the cities and towns of the Connecticut River valley from Vermont to the Connecticut border.

Staff writer Andrew Varnon spotted a trend that has converged with the Patrick campaign: “In the past year,” he writes, “Massachusetts has developed its own miniblogosphere. It is still rather nascent, but there is a core group of bloggers emerging who are concerned with state politics. And to these new bloggers, Deval Patrick has almost a ‘rock star’ status. All of them are talking about him.”

This is the first time, to my knowledge, that a newspaper has reported on the existence of the informal network of MA political bloggers. We sprouted up independently, but eventually discovered each other. We often discuss and link to interesting posts on each others blogs — and in so doing we have built a considerable statewide readership. This trend will continue as we write about the governor’s race. This will be important in part because, as Deval Patrick learned when he made his recent campaign swing through western Massachusetts, The Berkshire Eagle, the largest paper in the region has a policy of not covering the race until this November. (I wonder if Eagle readers know about that? I wonder if they would think its a good idea?)

The North Adams Transcript, however, thought someone running for governor and visiting their corner of the state was worthy of a story. So did blogger Michael Wilcox. So did blogger Noho-missives.

Kudos to The Valley Advocate for a fair and interesting profile of Deval Patrick and his campaign — and for being the first to report on the MA political bloggers.

Written by fred

May 25th, 2005 at 10:38 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

5 Responses to 'News of the Massachusetts Blogosphere'

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  1. Holy crap, my blog is in a newspaper. Sure, they got my web address wrong, but still, that’s a lot more than I expected when I started out writing about the governor’s race.


    26 May 05 at 9:18 am

  2. Sco, I’m sorry about that. I’m having it corrected on the web page, but the change probably won’t go live until tomorrow morning.

    Andrew Varnon

    26 May 05 at 10:38 am

  3. Fred,

    Not to be left out, the Amherst side of the river chimed in after Deval’s visit as well. Check out for recent two posts.

    1. Deval Patrick: Not Yet A Framer of Values, and
    2. Politics of Hope

    Add us to your list, so as things get more interesting, the circle of blogger observations will be more rich.


    Michael DeChiara

    26 May 05 at 8:19 pm

  4. Hey Fred. Glad to discover you have your own blog now and that WMA has such a thriving bloggerhood going. Makes me wish I hadn’t left Lesser, Newman and lovely downtown Noho.

    At the moment, I’m here in the South trying to turn red state conservatives into progressive thinkers.

    All the best to the Happy Valley. I’ll be checking in again.

    The Detroit News
    The Impolitic
    Last One Speaks

    Libby Spencer

    27 May 05 at 5:15 pm

  5. Thanks to the Advocate for making me aware of the emerging Massachusetts blogosphere. I work as a freelance writer in Amherst. For the last three years I’ve also become transfixed by a wrongful conviction case in our state that, because of a tainted DNA test, mainstream editors and reporters have by and large ignored.

    News hounds have probably heard of Ben LaGuer ( He’s been asserting his innocence for a 1983 rape ever since he was arrested almost 23 years ago. Many people also know that LaGuer’s case went to the SJC in the early 1990s (based on a report of juror racism) and that in 2002 a DNA test seemed to confirm his guilt.

    What you may not know is that LaGuer’s case is back in court. His pro bono attorney (James C. Rehnquist of Goodwin Procter LLP) filed a motion for a new trial with the Appeals Court earlier this year. The Commonwealth is due to respond this week. Oral arguments will hopefully be held soon.

    This is a fascinating case for many reasons. One is that it shows the fallibility of DNA evidence – especially where conclusions are drawn from miniscule amounts of physical material. (Death penalty activists take note!) In this case a trace amount of LaGuer’s DNA was indeed found in the evidence. But a newly discovered paper trail shows that the police mixed a pair of underwear taken from LaGuer’s apartment (NOT from the crime scene!) with the rest of the evidence. So LaGuer’s DNA could have easily gotten into the evidence by means of contamination. But getting people to open their minds again to the possibility of LaGuer’s innocence after their minds had slammed shut in the wake of the seemingly unassailable scientific certitude of a damning DNA result has been dauntingly difficult.

    Luckily for LaGuer the Goodwin Procter pro bono committee was able to see through the DNA hype. Rehnquist’s brief, which rests on a fingerprint report generated the day LaGuer was arrested in July 1983, is available as a PDF download from If you read it you will see that this fingerprint report, which clearly shows that LaGuer’s prints did NOT match those from a key piece of evidence, was suppressed and withheld from the defense for more than 18 years. What’s more, the commonwealth has since lost or destroyed (in other words, they haven’t been able to produce them so far) the prints that were found at the crime scene. If they could, those prints might very well lead to the real culprit.

    There’s a lot more information at the Web site, including a dossier on a likelier suspect whom police have seemingly never questioned in connection with this crime even though he was charged with a different rape in 1998 and he still lives just a few blocks from where the crime occurred.

    Please take some time to study I don’t think you’ll regret it. Feel free to call me with any questions you might have at (413) 253-0179.

    Eric Goldscheider

    5 Jun 05 at 9:54 pm

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