How important are blogs?

Sometimes, they can provide essential information and help spur on media coverage. A recent case in point was Chicago Sun-Times reporter Andrew Herrmann’s story on U.S. Paralympian Melissa Stockwell, the first female U.S. amputee in the Iraq War.

Over the past nine months, Herrmann wrote two fine stories about Stockwell.

The first time, last December, he interviewed her in person at the Oak Park location for Scheck & Siress, the region’s top private prosthetic and orthotic provider and where Stockwell is interning. The second time, Herrmann caught up with her by phone while she was the Olympic Training facility in Colorado–no easy feat, given her jammed schedule after she qualified for the Paralympics.

But this time around, she was half a world away, in China, and essentially unreachable by traditional means. On Friday, keeping the media posted on Stockwell’s efforts, I passed along her most recent blog update.

Three days later, Herrmann resourcefully tapped into the blog in filing this piece. And I believe the blog will continue to serve as a valuable resource for other media outlets that will consider profiling her journey upon her return to the Chicago area.

On a related note, to see a moving tribute about her amazing qualification for the Paralympic Games–she was a longshot to make the team–check out this 4 1/2-minute New York Times video.

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