Bloggers Eat Up Pet Food Recall

And here's a little piece from USA Today about bloggers and the pet food recall. Pet-food scandal ignites blogosphere By Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY Animal...


And here’s a little piece from USA Today about bloggers and the pet food recall.

Pet-food scandal ignites blogosphere
By Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY

Animal lovers frustrated with the limitations of the news media have mobilized into a national network of bloggers to share news about the foods that may have killed thousands of pets across the country.

Websites that catered to a niche audience have become an important source of news about the contamination of pet-food ingredients exported from China with an industrial chemical called melamine and related compounds. They are contacted not only by consumers but by reporters, lawyers and pet-food manufacturers eager to reach that burgeoning audience.

This kind of networked collaboration of people who share a deep interest is changing the journalism world, said Jay Rosen, a journalism professor at New York University and writer on online media.

“The people doing this pet food information hunting used to be on the demand side of journalism. But now they have the tools to supply themselves, so that’s what they’re doing,” Rosen said.

As the media focused on breaking news and other significant developments in the story, bloggers took the “completely logical approach” of finding what specific details pet owners need and putting them all together, says Paul Grabowicz, director of the New Media Program at the University of California at Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.

    The Pet Connection , a longtime pet-care site, links to the Food and Drug Administration’s list of recalled foods, gives information on poisoning symptoms and provides live streaming text from FDA press conferences. , named for a dog who loves to be scratched, went from a specialty site that founder Ben Huh of Bellevue, Wash., said got “about two visits a month” to a news source with 1.5 million visitors and a high enough profile that it has been banned in China. lists “the latest in head-exploding news.” lists the foods that companies describe as safe for canine and feline consumption.

Jay Edelson of Chicago-based Blim & Edelson, one of numerous law firms filing cases on behalf of owners who believe their animals died because of tainted pet food, says he’s never seen anything like this.

“I’ve been doing class-action law for over 10 years,” he said.

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