Sunday, June 1, 2008

Local writing. Really local writing.

Hi. I’m Arden Pennell, a journalist based in Palo Alto, California.
Welcome to my new blog, ArdentNews. Obvious pun aside, the name connotes passion. Silicon Valley is packed with passionate people. In this blog, I’ll write for and about those people – and anyone else with an interest in the Valley.

ArdentNews’ focus will be on questions I hear people ask and trends we residents observe. For example, in one post I'll ask what effect Facebook really has on downtown Palo Alto, hype aside. Other posts will address Stanford’s amazing start-up-company machine, female power brokers in the Valley (or lack thereof), and how to go on a cheap –but classy! – date in our pricey hometown.

I promise readers to avoid gimmick-based posts and snide commentary. Such writing usually isn’t informative, despite tantalizing headlines and a know-it-all tone.

I work as a reporter for the Palo Alto Weekly, so many posts will refer to articles I’ve written. There’s a difference between a blog post and a newspaper article. The former allows – heck, welcomes – opinion and having fun with the writing. The latter put the highest premium on facts. The reporter’s personality is frankly less important, or not important at all. (Or that’s how it goes at the Weekly, anyway. As most literate folks know, some papers have a more, er, flexible sense of journalistic ethics.)

ArdentNews will draw on both sorts of writing, personal and professional, to look at life in the Valley and Palo Alto in particular.
Questions are welcome. In fact, they’re requested. I’d like to hear what people want to know and then try to find out the answer.
If something interesting or crazy in that only-in-Silicon-Valley kind-of way is going on –I haven’t heard the phrase “Web 4.0 ” yet, but hey, it could happen – tell me about it.

Feel free to comment, correct, disagree, digg it, and so on. That’s all good stuff. The more dialog on ArdentNews, the better.
Thanks for reading and hope you enjoy. Below, some info about me.

About me:
I have a knack for original paragraph headings, as you see above.
I grew up in New York City and went to Stanford University for a taste of something new.

I later lived in Berlin and wrote the blog New Yorker in Berlin about the city’s post-Cold War culture. It’s hard not to become fascinated by a city where former Communist secret police are awarded higher pensions than their victims. Or where the main advocate for a Holocaust memorial stole a corpse’s tooth from a concentration camp to bury inside the memorial.

Now I live and work in Palo Alto. Silicon Valley is a magnet for creative, passionate – there’s that word again – people who ardently believe they are capable of transforming society. It’s fascinating to be surrounded by such people, even if their predictions are sometimes off (“tech bubble,” anyone?). Besides New York, the Valley is the only place where I won’t grouse too loudly about rents or $4 coffee. It’s worth it to be here.

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