For all my Inquirer-based criticism (much of which is over what happened, not the way it was reported), I wish the other MSM outlets showed the Inquirer’s foresight where it comes to blogs. Not only does the Inquirer feature a regular column about blogs, they have their own blog called Blinq. It’s liberal, (and honest enough to admit it), and it is intelligently written by a seasoned reporter Daniel Rubin.
And in today’s front page story titled Blogger Heightens Interest, the Inquirer heaped praise on a blogger who came to the aid of a young woman missing for more than a week:

Thanks largely to the efforts of a local Internet blogger, the Figueroa case is receiving plenty of national coverage, particularly from cable news.
“These missing-persons stories happen every day,” said the blogger, Richard Blair, who operates a progressive political Web site at www.allspinzone.com. “But which become newsworthy? A lot of it has to do with skin color and economics, but more important, I think, is what catches somebody’s eye. If you get the word out, news organizations will respond. That’s what we did.”
Late last week, Philadelphia police briefed reporters about the missing woman. But little coverage ensued.
So on Tuesday, Blair, thinking the case deserved more attention, dispatched a pointed e-mail to Nancy Grace, host of a nightly show on CNN Headline News.

(More here.)
I was particularly impressed by a quote the Inquirer ran from a journalism professor who actually likes blogs:

What has happened also highlights the role of bloggers vis-a-vis the mainstream media.
“Blogs can act as a stimulus to traditional journalism,” said Richard Craig, who teaches journalism at San Jose State University. “That’s what happened in this case. It’s a good thing.”

This is a positive development, not only for blogs, but for traditional journalists.
It is only fair to point out that Richard Blair is not the only blogger to be assisting a missing person’s case.
Glenn Reynolds has pointed his readers to the search for 17-year-old Cheryl Ann Magner, who has been missing since June. (More here.) While I am not sure how important the number of Google hits are to locating a missing person, I notice that Latoyia Figueroa‘s case has received more attention than Cheryl Ann Magner‘s, which is why I am mentioning it here. (That plus the fact that I also live in California and have regular West Coast readers.) Even though this blog doesn’t normally devote itself to missing person issues, the subject came up, I’m writing this post, and I can only imagine how awful the suffering of both families must be.
Richard Blair and Glenn Reynolds have different political perspectives, but there’s nothing partisan about missing person issues, nor should there be.
It’s refreshing to see bloggers and the MSM working together for a change.
Because I live on both coasts and have friends both in the San Francisco Bay Area and in the Philadelphia area, I figured the least I could do would be to upload photographs of both young women, because I know that not everyone is going to click on the above links.
Here’s a picture of Latoyia Figueroa, missing in the Philadelphia area since July 18:

latoyia.jpg

The following information is from the Inquirer:

Whom to Call
Anyone with information about Latoyia Figueroa is asked to contact the Southwest Detective Division at 215-686-3183 or the Citizens Crime Commission at 215-546-8477. For more on Latoyia Figueroa’s case, go to http://go.philly.com/latoyia.

And here’s Cheryl Ann Magner, missing in San Rafael (Marin County), California, since early in June:

cheryl.jpg

The following information comes from this website (with more here):

She has been missing since the beginning of June. She was last seen in Marin County, CA.
Please ,anyone who has seen this 17 year old girl please call the San Rafael police dept. @ 415-485-3000 or www.srpd.org
Any information or help would be greatly appreciated by the family.