today will be a bittersweet day at the Times

the good news is its friday, and its halloween, and blogosphere-wise we will celebrate another record-breaking month in a row.

but the bad news is it will be the last day for one of my favorite bloggers, Peter Viles.

in the short period of time that ive been on this job i have seen bloggers come and go. if they have left, they had either accepted the buyout from the company or they were laid off because of this horrible economy and because of whats happening publishing-wide. the most recent victim of the layoffs on our blogs was veronique de turenne of la now. her farewell post earlier this week was heartbreaking, particularly since she was one of the very few journalists that we had whose sole responsibility was to blog.

as sad as i was about veronique, it hurts just as much, if not more, to lose peter viles of la land, our real estate blog. it hurts a little more because peter used to come into my office every day and talk about his family, life, baseball, journalism, and ways to make his blog more successful. every day we’d talk, and some days like today we would eat lunch. like andy malcolm of top of the ticket, peter was downright obsessed about embracing this new form of writing which he viewed correctly as an extension of his already-seasoned journalism.

pete would talk with me, ben welsh, erik ulken, andy, anyone who had a tip on how to do it better. we had online chats, he appeared on radio and tv, he even had tree of the week on saturdays. anything to better reach out to his audience to tell the fascinating story of the housing crash here in southern california.

little do they know it, but all of these bloggers have taught me secrets on how to be a better blogger. peter taught me how to love your readers. long time riders of the busblog, or peeps from my LAist days may remember how snippy i could become to negative commentors, especially the anonymous types. peter embraced them. not only that but he’d listen to them. hes the most non-defensive blogger ive ever met. web 2.0 champions pretend that blogging is a two-way conversation but pete epitomizes it. its fascinating, and its one reason (among many) why he single-handedly brought his blog into the exclusive 1-million page view club – several times.

peter is leaving us for a bigger fancier gig not too far from the times building so i look forward to having lunch with him in the near future where he can keep me up to date with tales of his beautiful family and life outside of journalism, a career hes had for 20 years.

veronique, who was hired right around the time i was, helped lead LA Now regularly in the top ten of our 40+ blogs. pete’s la land blog was #3 every month this summer and consistently in the top five. very good, sweet people, and excellent bloggers who will be missed.