Broward News

The State of The Pulp Is ...

In light of last night's State of the Union speech, during which George Bush boldly trumpeted his "No Soldier Left Behind" plan, I thought I'd say a few words about the State of the Pulp. I've heard it said from numerous people in recent days that this blog has slowed down, that it's not hitting as hard, that I don't seem to be putting as much blood into it as I used to. To them I say, "uh, yeah, I guess so."

As an example of my laxness, I even forgot to mention that this thing has turned a year old this month. From its humble beginning on my Florida Pulp site (here's the first page ever, starting Friday, January 13, the day after the homeless beatings). I never explained a damn thing -- just started posting. Then it went on to the site at Blogger (here's the first bunch of posts from that locale -- ah, takes you back, don't it?). And then the fateful move in March to this location on the New Times site. No, the Pulp isn't a baby anymore. It's had an eventful life, from Buddy Nevins to O'Neal Dozier to The Help Team to Tom Fiedler to Mark Foley. And it's grown. The Pulp (which originally, for like its first two days, was titled "The Daily Bob") began with maybe 9 page views a day (four of them from me), quickly jumped up to 1,000, and last month alone had

83,000, or nearly 3,000 a day. I'll never forget watching the thing grow -- and seeing hundreds of people flooding in from Palm Beach Post, Sun-Sentinel, and Miami Herald servers. That was the base.

The reason it worked was that South Florida was starved for a decently done media blog, one that really got into the business. And South Florida is unique in that it has three large metropolitan papers overlapping in the space of 40 miles or so. I was never so disillusioned that anyone was coming on this thing to read my pristine prose (the very nature of blogging renders most of what is written worthy more of a trash can than anything else -- but damn, think of what a blogger Jack Kerouac would have been). Some of you read to see if you're story or your name was going to be in it. Some hoping to witness a good skewering. Some looking for a laugh. Some to see if I would finally wreck my credibility altogether. But the backbone of the Pulp has been the same as the backbone of the newspapers I've been writing about: news (well, that and the pictures). I always understood that and I've managed to break it here on a fairly regular basis. Let's say I fed the beast.

Things have slowed down a bit. The holiday season prompted an entire week off. The Miami Herald is in general remission after an incredibly tumultuous ride that began with the Marti coverage and ended with the "retirement" of Fiedler, who starred in so many Pulp posts. The Palm Beach Post is still respectable, if not often stellar. The Sun-Sentinel is still in serious decline, still letting corporate boobs pick it apart, but how many times can one person skewer the Help Team coverage? It is, as Nick Saban likes to say, what it is.

And it's true, I've slowed down a bit, too. I'm not quite as fervent as I was a year ago, I must admit. There's going to be some lulls, though. It's the natural state of things. Remember, this has been a one-man show from the beginning. New Times didn't formulate this thing during a meeting of the minds in Phoenix. I started it on a whim and haven't been paid a dime to do it. There has always been a concern that it would cut into the quantity and quality of my actual journalism work and, inevitably, it probably has. But the blog will never be as important as the real work. It's a complement, a sideshow, a place to throw words and ideas that don't fit anywhere else. And it will always be that. I believe I'll have a blog of some kind or another until the day I die, though I have no idea what I might post. Who knows what the next year will bring?

(Oh, and the state of the Pulp is, let's see ... let's say steady).

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Journalist Bob Norman has been raking the muck of South Florida for the past 25 years. His work has led to criminal cases against corrupt politicians, the ouster of bad judges from the bench, and has garnered dozens of state, regional, and national awards.
Contact: Bob Norman