Got an inquiry from a friend (in the conventional sense) about becoming a friend (in the specialized sense) with someone on Facebook. He and the other person have had political differences, but he got the invitation to be “friended.” What to do?
Each to their own tastes. But – and yes, we here are on Facebook, and Twitter too among other things – the basic take here is that being someone’s “friend” on Facebook is a little different than the traditional type. A friend on Facebook is someone you choose to keep in touch with, and may or may not be more than that. The question: But would I throttle back on my opinions if I know that so-and-so might see them? Response: If they’re on line anywhere, they may be seen. A whole generation of politicians, among others, is about to learn that the hard way. (The rule here: Write nothing, post nothing, anywhere, that isn’t essentially open to the world at large. You’ll find your desire to keep it private is in inverse proportion to the likelihood of its emergence into unwanted hands.)
Facebook and Twitter do raise a variety of questions for certain categories of people. A question for bloggers and other writers (journalists included): To what extent is a Facebook post or a Twitter tweet “on the record” – quotable elsewhere? A point not yet really resolved.
The next blog post here will make use of Tweets someone else has posted. Probably, those tweets were intended to shared with the world at large. If not, we’ll probably find out soon enough.
Via a Facebook post, a link to a pair of essays by two Idaho journalists, Kevin Richert and Marcia Franklin, on the ethical and journalistic issues of social communications. The main takeaway: There’s a lot yet to be worked out.
No explanation here about lenses and Squidoos (that’s available via their main site). Here, just a note that the “lens” is just starting construction, and will be be substantially added to. Suggestions are welcome.
A single-day conference, to held in Portland sometime in August, on the subject of how journalism can best be done in the coming digital age.
I want us to shut up about about the death of newspapers and start talking about how we, as journalists, are innovating right now — what’s working, what’s not, and how we can get better at what we do.
Here’s where you come in. What do you think the topics should be? What do you want to learn about? Who are innovators you want to learn from? What expertise can you share with others?
Here are some initial topics I’ve come up with:
Five things traditional journalists and bloggers can teach each other
Quick tips for producing audio and video for the web
Out of the newsroom: Success stories from non-traditional journalists
Turning data into graphics and maps
Hyper-local news: What works and what doesn’t
Learn how to share, a.k.a WTF is Creative Commons?
SEO for digital journalists
Can be followed on Twitter or via the link at the top of this post.
A quick programming note: On Monday mornings during the legislative session, I’ll be talking on KLIX-AM radio in Twin Falls. That started this morning at about 8:05 (Mountain), for 15 minutes or so, and the plan is to continue that till the legislators go home.
Talked this morning on the budget mess, the challenges Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter and the legislature have (though they seem to coming closer to facing them together) and related subjects. Podcasts are available.
In the next three days, we’ll run posts on our picks for the person of the year in Idaho, Oregon and Washington. A quick word on these first.
They will be along the line of the influential persons lists we did for some years in Idaho, at least in matters of criteria – and but for the fact that we’ll be naming just one person.
The idea is not honorary, not necessarily an indication of goodness or of excellent achievement. The idea is to name someone who somehow or another threw a curve into the very recent history of their state, affecting it on a substantial level for good or ill. And someone whose actions were specific to them, not necessarily undertaken by whoever might have been standing in their shoes – someone without whom their state would have been different than it actually is right now. The thing is more an invitation to consider not necessarily what made the big headlines but what mattered in the Northwest over the last year.
Let it be not a conversation ender, but conversation starter.
You may have noticed that we’ve done a little sprucing up, code-wise. We’ve operated with a sound WordPress package for more than three years, but we haven’t upgraded its core engine in all that time. So things have become increasing scratch/patch. And after a while, a little shaking out helps.
What’s here is, for the most part, much like what was here yesterday – from many of the basic elements, you can see this is still Ridenbaugh Press. But there’s been a little reworking under the hood, and will be a little more. The site’s purpose and content, though, go on.
Aquick note here that the hiatus over the last week-plus is over, and we’ll be resuming something at least resembling a normal posting regimen hereout. The hospital stay is over.
Those two little words (pulmonary embolism) that delivered such a wallop and afforded such intimate exposure to hospital procedures, 9-1-1 realities (those guys and gals really are life-savers), drugs and tests and so much more, have also had this upside: PEs (at least in this case), as life-threatening as they are, also can be straightforward to deal with and (at least in this case) involve no massive surgeries or anything especially invasive or even very life-changing. As medical crises go, this one has worked out benignly. So far at least. Though we’ll likely be taking it easy for a while.
Many thanks to everyone who sent in a comment, e-mail, card or otherwise got in touch. Your thoughts were, are, deeply appreciated.
We’ve added a new widget to the site – scroll down and to the right, you’ll see the PolitiFact.com truth-o-meter. It’s not strictly a Northwest thing, but we think it might be useful.
There, you’ll see statements made by or about candidates, and marked as truthful, halfway or (in the really bad cases) “pants on fire.” And you can click through to the main site and check out whatever statements you might have heard by or about the candidates, to see what the background and facts are.
A good many people have difficult sifting this stuff. The truth-o-meter might actually help.
Amoment here to draw a little attention to the book just added on the right-hand column of this page: Outlaw Tales of Idaho, written by your scribe and published by the Globe-Pequot Press. The precise date of “publication” isn’t entirely clear, but the actual sample books have arrived by UPS and the book is up on the G-P site as well as on Amazon.com.
It consists of stories about some of the dirty deeds (mostly though not entirely non-political) in Idaho history, up to about Prohibition. The stories were fun to put together – a variety of topics ranging from death in the wilderness by bushwhacker, to a Civil War-era political argument that got way out of hand, to the state’s foremost mass murderer (of the kind known as black widows). The good people at the Idaho Historical Society, and others who had worked there or frequented the place, were greatly helpful in collecting data and pictures.
So, it’ll be over there on the right-hand column for a while to come. Just in case you were wondering.
Posting here has been a little slow the last week – it’ll pick up shortly – largely because it came from some distance, in place and in mind. Simply, Ridenbaugh Press spent the last week-plus in Costa Rica.
We’ll not get here in any long report about it – the subject of this site is the Pacific Northwest, where the ocean water in this season is too cold for swimming or wading (it was in the 80s down there). Here, we’ll note a couple of things. One is that a report on what we saw down there has been posted (and more pictures will be coming soon).
And note that those recent posts on Northwest politics and related matters over the last week or so (from departure on March 4 until return to Portland this morning) were researched and written in a small hillside city in Central America. The world really is getting smaller.
This blog gets quoted elsewhere with some regularity, but we’ve not seen much specific analysis of who gets quoted where. (Other than more general tools like BlogNetNews, where we happen to rank Number 1 on this week’s Idaho influence survey.)
What follows is partly a bit of horn-blowing but also commentary on the regional blogosphere.
The Idaho Statesman at Boise runs a feature called Other Voices, edited by Editorial Page Editor Kevin Richert, which sometimes includes comments from emails sent to the paper but usually comments from the area’s blogosphere. Boise conservative blogger Adam Graham decided to count the numbers of recent quotes in Other Voices, and came up with this list:
1) Randy Stapilus-15 [Ridenbaugh Press]
2) Adam Graham-9
3) Betsy Russell-8 [Spokesman-Review]
3) Bryan Fischer-8
5) Red State Rebels-7
5) Mountain Goat Report-7
 Huckleberries Online 4
 Fort Boise-4
 Dennis Mansfield-4
11) Joel Kennedy-2
11) Clayton Cramer-2
His speculation on why the numbers ran as they did: “My theory is that it comes down to a basic lack of conservative voices. To have an interesting round up of other opinion, conservative voices are needed, or otherwise it’s just one side and no real debate. Thus, while I’ve been quoted more often, Richert has keep things pretty much even by quoting quite a few liberal bloggers.”
Richert’s view is similar: “He has it pretty much right. My goal with Other Voices is to serve up a diverse discussion on the issues, in real time. I’m trying to present a good mix. Especially since both Graham and Fischer frequently criticize Statesman editorials or my ID Quicktakes posts; my top priority is to give our critics prominent play, in print and online. And there’s another reason you see a lot of Graham and Fischer in the Other Voices feature. Frankly, there aren’t many conservative bloggers around these parts. I can pick and choose from a larger pool of liberal/Democrat bloggers, so I do.”
Our sense is that the situation is similar in Washington and Oregon: Liberal blogs simply outnumber conservative blogs, and we find ourselves revisiting the conservative blogs probably a little more often in consequence.
Drawing your attention to our latest page, “At the churches,” a list of major churches around the Pacific Northwest – primarily those called megachurches.
The idea is not that they’re politically active (though some do have roles that relate to politics in various ways). More, the idea is that these churches are major contributors of ideas in our society, developers of world views that in turn come to influence voting patterns and political activity, even if only very indirectly. We’ve been quietly watching activity in this area for a while; in the weeks and months to come, you’ll see somewhat more posts here on this subject. Consider this page an opening of marking of territory of interest.
Everyone else seems to be checking out, or posting, the blog ratings generated by Mingle2, which generates movie-style ratings for blog sites, based on the language found in them. So here’s how we rate as of this morning:
In the last few months we’ve seen a spike in comment spam, and finally hit a point where manual management of it was becoming a pain. So we tweaked the system a bit and yesterday added a new spam-killer to the architecture.
It appears to be working correctly, killing out the junk while letting through the genuine stuff. But let us know if you try commenting and nothing shows up. The spam-killer does not seem especially over-eager, but it may need some adjustment as time goes on so that it doesn’t harvest the good stuff along with the bad. (You can mail on this, or whatever, to stapilus[at]ridenbaugh.com.)
The latest tv ad for Idaho gubernatorial candidate A.J. Balukoff.
Back in Print! Frank Church was one of the leading figures in Idaho history, and one of the most important U.S. senators of the last century. From wilderness to Vietnam to investigating the CIA, Church led on a host of difficult issues. This, the one serious biography of Church originally published in 1994, is back in print by Ridenbaugh Press. Fighting the Odds: The Life of Senator Frank Church. LeRoy Ashby and Rod Gramer; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. 800 pages. Softcover. $24.95. See the FIGHTING THE ODDS page.
by Stephen Hartgen The personal story of the well-known editor, publisher and state legislator's travel west from Maine to Idaho. A well-written account for anyone interested in Idaho, journalism or politics. JOURNEY WEST: A memoir of journalism and politics, by Stephen Hartgen; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. $15.95, here or at Amazon.com (softcover)
NEW EDITIONS is the story of the Northwest's 226 general-circulation newspapers and where your newspaper is headed. New Editions: The Northwest's Newspapers as They Were, Are and Will Be. Steve Bagwell and Randy Stapilus; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. 324 pages. Softcover. (e-book ahead). $16.95. See the NEW EDITIONS page.
THE OREGON POLITICAL FIELD GUIDE 2014
The Field Guide is the reference for the year on Oregon politics - the people, the districts, the votes, the issues. Compiled by a long-time Northwest political writer and a Salem Statesman-Journal political reporter. OREGON POLITICAL FIELD GUIDE 2014, by Randy Stapilus and Hannah Hoffman; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. $15.95, available right here or through Amazon.com (softcover)
THE IDAHO POLITICAL FIELD GUIDE 2014
by Randy Stapilus and Marty Trillhaase is the reference for the year on Idaho Politics - the people, the districts, the votes, the issues. Written by two of Idaho's most veteran politcal observers. IDAHO POLITICAL FIELD GUIDE 2014, by Randy Stapilus and Marty Trillhaase; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. $15.95, available right here or through Amazon.com (softcover)
WITHOUT COMPROMISE is the story of the Idaho State Police, from barely-functioning motor vehicles and hardly-there roads to computer and biotechnology. Kelly Kast has spent years researching the history and interviewing scores of current and former state police, and has emerged with a detailed and engrossing story of Idaho. WITHOUT COMPROMISE page.
The Old West saw few murder trials more spectacular or misunderstood than of "Diamondfield" Jack Davis. After years of brushes with the noose, Davis was pardoned - though many continued to believe him guilty. Max Black has spent years researching the Diamondfield saga and found startling new evidence never before uncovered - including the weapon and one of the bullets involved in the crime, and important documents - and now sets out the definitive story. Here too is Black's story - how he found key elements, presumed lost forever, of a fabulous Old West story. See the DIAMONDFIELD page for more.
Chris Carlson's Medimont Reflections is a followup on his biography of former Idaho Governor Cecil Andrus. This one expands the view, bringing in Carlson's take on Idaho politics, the Northwest energy planning council, environmental issues and much more. The Idaho Statesman: "a pull-back-the-curtain account of his 40 years as a player in public life in Idaho." Available here: $15.95 plus shipping. See the Medimont Reflections page
NOW IN KINDLE
Idaho 100, about the 100 most influential people ever in Idaho, by Randy Stapilus and Martin Peterson is now available. This is the book about to become the talk of the state - who really made Idaho the way it is? NOW AN E-BOOK AVAILABLE THROUGH KINDLE for just $2.99. Or, only $15.95 plus shipping.
Water rights and water wars: They’re not just a western movie any more. The Water Gates reviews water supplies, uses and rights to use water in all 50 states.242 pages, available from Ridenbaugh Press, $15.95
At a time when Americans were only exploring what are now western states, William Craig tried to broker peace between native Nez Perces and newcomers from the East. 15 years in the making, this is one of the most dramatic stories of early Northwest history. 242 pages, available from Ridenbaugh Press, $15.95
The Snake River Basin Adjudication is one of the largest water adjudications the United States has ever seen, and it may be the most successful. Here's how it happened, from the pages of the SRBA Digest, for 16 years the independent source.