Blog Relief: Update & Next Steps

The response yesterday was tremendous, far exceeding even my most optimistic hopes. With this momentum established, there seems no reason to stop now. So, in a spur-of-the-moment decision made with Hugh Hewitt when I by his studio yesterday (audio here), we’ve decided to turn Blog Relief Day into Blog Relief Weekend. I will be keeping all the relief pages front-and-center here at TTLB at least through the Labor Day holiday next Monday.
In fact, I don’t want to just keep going as-is: I want to go even further. So here’s a few announcements and requests:
International Blogbursts: To date, bloggers from 20 countries have signed up for the effort. This is a great start, but I think we can do even better. I’d like to ask bloggers across the world to set up country-specific blogbursts to aid the relief effort. This is especially important because unlike in the U.S., I am sure that internationally, the plight of Katrina’s victims isn’t quite as front-and-center in the mainstream media, and so bloggers can truly help in raising awareness of the situation and the massive need for aid.
So, I’d ask for some non-U.S. bloggers to step up to the plate and volunteer to organize a blogburst in their country. If you’d like to volunteer, please e-mail me and put “International Blogburst” as the subject line of your message, and I’ll promote your efforts here at TTLB and beyond.
Corporate Sponsors: I’d like to ask companies everywhere to consider joining in the Blog for Relief effort by pledging to match donations made by bloggers during the drive. Whether you are a small business owner running your own Mom & Pop store, or a CEO/SVP at a multi-billion-dollar corporate giant, there’s a place for your organization in this effort, however small or large a pledge you can make. Corporate sponsors will, of course, receive prominent placement here at TTLB — and from the many bloggers that you will be aiding in the effort. If your company is interested, please e-mail me and put “Corporate Sponsor” as the subject line of your message. And if you think your company might be interested but aren’t at a level to make such a decision yourself: please, pass it up the chain and try to get your corporate leadership on board!
Next Steps for Meeting Relief Needs: Hugh Hewitt has made an outstanding proposal in his latest Weekly Standard column, and I’ve signed on board to help launch the effort. The idea is simple: to create a web portal where organizations in the area affected by Katrina can broadcast to the world their needs, and the world — and in particular, similar organizations elsewhere — can step up to meet those needs.
I’m already at work designing the basic framework of such a system, but the one thing that is certain is that we will need help. For sure, we will need the following:
– Web hosting: We expect that initially the directory will be hosted here at TTLB, but will ultimately migrate to be a separate stand-alone effort. If there is a hosting company that would be willing to donate a dedicated server or two for the effort, that would make life much simpler. Update: The fine folks at Hosting Matters, who currently host TTLB, have agreed to donate a server to the effort!
– Web Developers: I’ll be hacking the initial code myself in my usual style, but I may need help. If you know LAMP development and would be willing to assist, please speak up.
– Web researchers & site editors: To launch this effort, we will be looking for people to help out in scouring the web for charities, identifying their needs, and also simply monitoring the portal and ensuring things are running smoothly. If you are interested and have the time to commit, let me know.
If you can help in any of the above ways, please e-mail me and put “Meeting Relief Needs” as the subject line of your message.
That’s it for now, folks. The thing to remember is that this is just the very beginning of the ordeal for the hundreds of thousands of people whose lives have been derailed by the storm. And therefore, it must also be only the very beginning of our efforts to assist them…

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