The Chicago Tribune‘s first blogger, Eric Zorn, is reflecting back on his first post four years ago and asking for feedback on going forward. I’ve been reading Zorn’s blog since its inception and am always fascinated on how he uses the blog platform to its hilt. Not only does he put up great original content but also uses it to provide expanded related and supporting material to the columns he writes for the Tribune proper.

Really in a good number of the things I’ve done I’ve used Zorn’s blog as a guidepost. It was the fact that I enjoyed it so much that prompted me to make my first foray into blogging, so you all can blame him for the fact that Chris Thilk is now moderately Internet famous. He mixes personal anecdotes with local news items with national topics and manages, by taking strong positions himself, to provoke strong reactions in his readers. For that I respect him greatly. I don’t care if I offend you, I’m just happy people are engaging in the debate.

Zorn’s blog has changed a bit over the last four years but still, I think, provides a great example of what the addition of a blog can bring to the Web site of a newspaper or any other media outlet. It’s a strong connection with readers that goes beyond the print edition. Here’s hoping, by me at least, that Zorn keeps going strong and continues to spearhead the Tribune‘s new media activities.