Monday, August 22, 2005

The New Ernie Pyles

By Jonathan Finer
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 12, 2005; Page A01

At least one former military blogger, however, is channeling the publicity his blog earned in Iraq into a new career. Colby Buzzell, a soldier who during his 12-month tour of duty started a blog called "My War" ( , which stands for his initials plus an antiwar epithet), was eight months into his deployment when he read a magazine article about blogs and decided to give it a try. Within weeks, he said, his blog was receiving thousands of hits a day, and literary agents began peddling their services.

"It all happened at an alarming rate, basically overnight, after I wrote about a firefight. I have no idea how the heck people found out about it, they just did," said Buzzell, who got out of the military six months ago.

His book about his time in Iraq comes out in October. He has also written two articles for Esquire magazine. Now 29 and living in Los Angeles, he called blogging from the war zone "therapeutic."

"You go out on a mission or patrol, come back and sit down at a computer, and it was kind of a release," he said in a telephone interview. "I wasn't writing for a book deal, I was writing for myself. It was a way to deal with the madness and made the days go by a little faster."

Soldiers' Web sites vary from multimedia presentations of digital photos and videos to simple text written in journal form. Many bloggers say they do it to keep friends and family up to date or to counter what they consider the biases of the mainstream media.