The Washington Post (NYSE: WPO) is dipping its toes into the blog network pool again, with the launch of a new network focused on state government news. Operating under the PostPolitics umbrella site, the paper says the network will serve as a “compendium of some of the best state-based political blogs in the country.” However, unlike WaPo’s defunct Blogroll ad network, which was shuttered after just 16 months in March ’08, this time around it is strictly a content network, not an ad net.
The impetus to start a state-focused blog net was inspired by a post on beltway politics blog The Fix, when the site’s Chris Cillizza asked readers to nominate their favorite political blogs from every state. There was enough of a response that suggested readers might be interested, especially as the election season looks to a number of tense local and Congressional races.
The blog network is starting out with 10 state politics blogs, with plans to expand that number quickly, but the paper didn’t say how many. A little over two years ago, Observer Media, owner of The New York Observer, announced a plan to create 50 state blogs called Politcker. But the idea quickly proved too ambitious and the rollout was scaled back significantly at the end of ’08.
Meanwhile, the launch of the WaPo blog net comes as it faces new online challenges, such as the launch of Politico parent Allbritton’s local Washington DC news site.