The word “BLOG” is at the center of this image but it should be “George”. George Nemeth was the hub of Northeast Ohio blogging during its formative years and heyday. If you don’t recognize his name or face, maybe you’ve heard of Brewed Fresh Daily (BFD) or Meet the Bloggers (MTB). George died unexpectedly just before Election Day. He was 48 years old. You can read more about him in this obituary or this remembrance by Thomas Mulready at CoolCleveland.com
George was unlike any friend I’ve ever had. Someone turned him on to the existence of Writes Like She Talks a short time after I began blogging in July 2005 and the next thing I knew, he wanted to provide a link and a mention. I wasn’t sure I wanted that – I didn’t know what I was doing. George asked me, do you want people to read what you’re writing? And I said yes. And he said, then you need to let people know it’s out there. So he did.
I experienced George as calm, thoughtful, curious, generous and inquisitive. The Meet the Bloggers sessions, started by George and a few others, showcased civic and political leaders and wannabe leaders, and George’s interest in sharing whatever got produced as a result of his creativity. The hundreds of in-person interviews were attended by bloggers and the public, then posted as audio and written about by the attendees. These sessions provided opportunities to engage and question power brokers and decision makers in ways that the mainstream media, then and now, never offered. I loved the proximity they gave ordinary citizens to people like Frank Jackson, Ted Strickland, Jennifer Brunner, Sherrod Brown, Richard Cordray, Subodh Chandra, Marc Dann, Joan Synenberg, Lance Mason, Eric Fingerhut, Jim Petro, Chris Ronayne and on and on. Many of these folks before their rise – and for some of them, before their falls.
Can you imagine that now, when so many electeds and candidates won’t even say yes to a debate at The City Club of Cleveland?
I’m missing George intensely, even though he hadn’t lived in Cleveland for a few years. George was a mentor who spent hours on end with me, one-on-one, patiently helping me figure out how the tech behind blogs worked. He never made me feel stupid or hopeless in reaching for knowledge that wasn’t easy for me to grasp. In fact, I think seeing someone like me go from knowing nothing to where I’ve ended up made George immensely satisfied.
Thanks to the imprint George created, the pulse of civic engagement in Northeast Ohio will always beat with a bit of George.