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Ike Blows Blawg Off Its Usual Path

Nothing like a major hurricane blowing through town to disrupt one's normal blogging routine. When Hurricane Ike hit Houston, several local lawyers blogged about it, as the ABA Journal noted several days ago. Among them were Tom Kirkendall at his blog Houston's Clear Thinkers and Mark Bennett at Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer. But for reporting above and beyond the call of duty, I was particularly impressed by the Hurricane Ike coverage at Tex Parte Blog, the blog of Texas Lawyer newspaper. (Both are owned by Incisive Media, which also owns this blog and its host,

By my count, the editors and reporters who contribute to Tex Parte have posted some three-dozen items about Ike and its impact on the local legal community (and counting). Some of it is the standard fare you would expect from a legal newspaper -- notices of Ike-related court orders, courthouse closures and the like. But what stands out for me are the stories behind the story, the kind of color and perspective that only on-the-scene reporters who also happen to be talented writers can provide. Consider the post titled  "Bringing the law to the people," which starts:

It's not often that you can break through a crowd of people by announcing, "I am a lawyer! I am here to help!" But that's exactly how Houston lawyer J. Goodwille Pierre got through the front door of the Mt. Ararat Baptist church moments ago, as he arrived at a hurricane-relief clinic sponsored by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).

And then there was this, about prosecutors on round-the-clock duty during the storm:

When Hurricane Ike hit downtown Houston in the early morning hours Sept. 13, Harris County assistant district attorney Murray Newman was among those watching the storm's advance from the lobby of the Harris County Criminal Justice Center. "It was like a front-row seat at an IMAX event," recalls Newman, who worked a 28-hour shift in the DA's emergency intake division, screening and processing criminal defendants during Ike's assault on the Houston area.

Read through these posts and you come away with a street-level view of Ike's impact on the Houston-area legal community. Some of these items were of insufficient consequence to make their way into print news reports, but they fit perfectly within the context of a blog. Through their blogging this week, the folks at Tex Parte have given us another reminder of how blogs and other social media serve to enhance "mainstream" reporting, not diminish it, as some old-schoolers seem to believe.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on September 18, 2008 at 12:07 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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