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Two Blawger Transitions to Note

What makes a blog worth reading? A distinctive voice. A unique topic. Smarts and savvy. Fearlessness. Those characteristics describe two legal blogs that are no more thanks to their writers moving on to other things.

In writing Law Beat, Mark Obbie stood out for all of those reasons and more. Law Beat was, to my knowledge, the only blog devoted to criticism of the legal media. It is a topic Obbie is uniquely qualified to cover. He is a veteran reporter and editor who has devoted much of his career to covering law. (He and I formerly worked together.) And in his coverage of the people and periodicals on the law beat, he was fearless in his willingness to point out shortcomings as well as strengths.

After a couple weeks without posting, Obbie announced that the blog would be on hiatus, its return contingent on someone else taking it over. "I'd rather be doing journalism than commenting on it," explains Obbie, who left his job as executive editor of The American Lawyer to teach journalism at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and run its Carnegie Legal Reporting Program. To free up time to focus on his own journalism, he is giving up his oversight of the legal reporting program, and with it, the blog.

By contrast, it was two years ago that Jordan Barab gave up his blog, Confined Space, where he wrote about workplace health and safety. He gave it up, he explained at the time, to take a job that made it impossible for him to continue blogging, as counsel to the House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor, working on OSHA-related matters. You know a worker-friendly blog must be good when its closing is mourned by an employers' lawyer, but that was exactly what happened when Michael Fox wrote at Jottings By an Employer's Lawyer that he was sorry to see the blog go.

Well, now this former blogger has made good with another career move, as Walter Olson notes at Last month, Barab was named deputy assistant secretary for the Occupational Health and Safety Administration and is also serving as OSHA's acting director until a permanent director is named.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on May 18, 2009 at 01:58 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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