Baltimore’s media insurgents are changing the face of journalism in Baltimore

By Michael Yockel (Baltimore Fishbowl, 10/13/2011)

Scott Huffines (48) and Tom Warner (54), founders and editors, Baltimore or Less

…Scott Huffines and Tom Warner operate decidedly outside the mainstream media, cheekily celebrating the outré, the odd, the outlandish, and the odoriferous about their native city. While a handful of local feature-oriented websites labor predictably to establish some manner of misguided hipster cred, Baltimore or Less, launched in mid-2010, instead effortlessly plucks and then posts what Warner, a librarian in the Enoch Pratt Central Branch’s Sights and Sounds Department, terms “the unknown or unusual or serendipitous charms of Charm City.”

Recent original items include Warner’s waggish essay on the relentless misspelling of Edgar Allan Poe’s middle name as “Allen,” notably by the should-know-better MPT. The site also judiciously aggregates media stories — local and national, past and present — that probe Baltimore’s sometimes dogged, sometimes hangdog sensibility. “We pre-digest weird Baltimore-related news that most people aren’t interested in, and regurgitate it like mama birds feeding their young,” explains Huffines, a Web development specialist for the Johns Hopkins Hospital Department of Anesthesia.

Click on “Baltimorons” or “Pranks,” for instance, from the site’s extensive archives, and discover what Huffines calls “insane tidbits,” such as “Iggy Pop recorded a live album on Pulaski Highway; Babe Ruth got sick injecting a serum made from sheep’s ; and a  stunt balloonist drank six beers, and then fell a half-mile to his death in Highlandtown.”

Not everything comes across as Baltimore Babylon, though. BMoL plays nice, too. One example: Jackie Nickel’s (Huffines late newspaperwoman mother) endearing story about Essex-based, crab-eating social group the Ancient and Honorable Nobles of the Hardshells.

Bonus: The site brims with pertinent videos and audio components, including a “Baltimore Soundtrack” that features jaunty, decades-old Natty Boh jingles and the long-gone Baltimore Clippers minor league hockey team’s rah-rah theme song.

“Scott and I are archivists of sorts,” says Warner, “and we’re interested in what makes Baltimore such a unique place, its balance between the profane and the mundane, the highbrow and lowbrow — particularly the lowbrow.”

Continue reading “Baltimore’s media insurgents are changing the face of journalism in Baltimore” at Baltimore Fishbowl.

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