Huff Po Here

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.

7 responses to “Huff Po Here

  1. …..“the progressive counterpart to the Drudge Report.” The news on HuffPo is actually true; the opinions far more intelligent, and the writing much better……..


    They both look like spinning tops to me; one spinning to the left and one spinning to the right.

  2. Grumpy Old Man

    I have not read the HuffPo but find its originator highly articulate although her accent is difficult to understand. Perhaps the zenophobic isolationist in me. However, the basis of much of these blogs and even political shows on the tube (CNBC/Fox) seems to be to “out do” one another. The media, much like the perceived populus of this country, is divided, nasty and very competitive. It is nice to see that Mary Ann deals with some topics, apparently, that are not so polarizing.

  3. Wendy Crowther

    Mary Ann West is one of Westport’s finest angels. I first met Mary Ann while sitting on Westport’s Parks & Recreation Commission. As co-chair of the Community Gardens, she presented the troubles the gardeners were encountering as they tried to establish their new digs in what turned out to be cement left behind by the Long Lots school parking lot expansion. Mary Ann’s soft spoken, yet articulate and convincing voice helped turn around the dismissive attitudes of those who were somewhat unsympathetic with the gardener’s plight. In fact, after years of hard work, the gardens, just yesterday, got the P&Z ‘s approved for a significant expansion (there is a waiting list for plots). Mary Ellen’s advocacy and her ability to communicate and build networks of supporters was instrumental in the successes the gardeners have gained thus far (as well as via the hard work of others). Whatever cause she focus her attention on, you know it will succeed in a way that builds constituencies and support without bravado or ego.

    One effort of Mary Ann’s which Dan didn’t mention was a piece Mary Ann wrote (I forget who published it) when she decided to try and live on the equivalent of a month’s worth of food stamps. The challenges she encountered to try and make that small allotment go far enough without skipping meals, resorting to horrid nutrition or going hungry was insightful and a brilliant experiment to point out the balancing act performed by thousands of people who depend on these sorts of social programs to survive.

    Mary Ann is a kind of Susan Boyle in a way. You might walk by her and not notice that she’s there. But, when she opens her mouth or her pen, or her heart, she blows you away.

    Thanks, Mary Ann, for your brilliance, your well thought out opinions and for the things you believe in.

  4. Freddie Brenneman

    I feel so lucky to have Mary Ann West part of my church community where she makes good things HAPPEN!

  5. Way to be Mary Ann!

  6. Why did you have to go and ding the drudgereport while writting about a Westporter. Did you look at today’s headline, the “Dalai Lama leaving the back door of the White House”, with the tag line “don’t slip on the garbage”…drudge is so in touch with both sides of the aisle.

    Plus all drudge does is link to other articles and current news, so if things are untrue it’s the articles in the nyt, wsj, time, etc that are so.

  7. Linda Gramatky Smith

    Mary Ann is all that everyone has said and MORE. She is terrific at all she does, and a delightful person. Loved this article on her!