Some Westporters love the Huffington Post. Others hate it.
Mary Ann West writes for it.
The Westport resident — who in real life is a screenwriter with her own production company — is a regular contributor to the popular news site/blog that’s popularly called “the progressive counterpart to the Drudge Report.”
It’s not, of course. The news on HuffPo is actually true; the opinions far more intelligent, and the writing much better.
You can argue any of those points, of course, but 1 thing is certain: Mary Ann West nails some pretty good topics.
She began her Huffington Post career during the 2008 presidential campaign, contributing pieces to the “Off the Bus” civilian journalist project. Her big break came on August 7 of that year, when her report on TEAM Westport’s open forum — asking whether America was ready for a black president — was featured on the website’s front page.
Since then, Mary Ann has written on everything from receiving a dinner invitation from Newt Gingrich (she opted out of sending $50 and entering a lottery for the opportunity); the fallout from Chris Dodd’s decision not to run for re-election (it was heavy with wrestling references, thanks to the entry of WWE president Linda McMahon), and giving a lap dance as a Christmas present.
That latter story referenced Bedroom Matters — the Westport intimacy boutique that recently closed. Mary Ann often includes Westport references — another one cited Homes for Hope as a great community response to homelessness — though her readers may be in Iowa, Israel or Istanbul. Bringing global issues to the local level — and vice versa — is a key to successful blogging.
Such writing does not come easily to Mary Ann. She is more comfortable writing long pieces. She spends a lot of time “fixing” — editing and chopping — but the results are worth it. Her words reach an international audience.
Still — and despite plenty of travel, like a recent North American tour in which she interviewed a cross-section of people about health care and the recession — Mary Ann remains committed to Westport. She is a Red Cross disaster volunteer, and is very active in the Saugatuck Congregational Church.
Among her church projects: the Farmers Market, which last year donated 10,000 pounds of goods to a Bridgeport food pantry; an upcoming fundraiser for outreach efforts and women-oriented workshops; and June’s intriguing Field of Flags (details coming soon).
Mary Ann was co-chair of Westport’s Community Gardens, back in the “raw dirt” days.
“Westport is a really good community,” she says. “It allows us all to be as creative and active as we want to be.”
Sounds like just another of Mary Ann West’s crazy progressive notions.