Monday, July 09, 2012

Six Years Began With Spittle Bug Post

That first post went up July 9, 2006.  There was another spittle bug post after I learned how to put up photos. And the spittle bugs are back this year, but now I know they don't do my plants harm and I can just wash them off if it gets too much.

I've posted a lot since then.  Blogging has taught me a lot and introduced me to neat people. If some folks are to be believed, the blog has added a bit of value to the world.  As I think back on this last year, the biggest single focus was the Alaska Redistricting Board.  There's a tab above that gets you to an overview of my posts on the board.  But there was a lot more. 

What surprises me most is the wide range of topics I've posted about - which is brought home when I look at the search terms people use to get here.  Here's a March 2012 post on search terms people used to get here as an example. And for most of them, I actually have what they are looking for.

So far I haven't mentioned another highlight here.  I'm still examining my reluctance to share things like this.  In some cultures you don't brag about your children lest you attract evil eye.  I also have an aversion to competitive contests - the choosing of 'best' and how that is defined are complicated and imperfect processes.  That's the closest I can get to explaining why I haven't mentioned the two Alaska Press Club Awards I received in April. 

I got third best Current Events/News Blog.  The Anchorage Daily News' Iditarod Live: The Sled Blog written by Kyle Hopkins, Scott Levin, Mike Campbell, Beth Bragg, David Hulen, and Bob Hallinen was first and Scott Woodham's The Concerned - Current Issues of Alaska at the Alaska Dispatch was second.  The judge, Ellyn Angelotti, wrote:
The "What Do I Know?" blog provides in-depth information about current events complete with direct copies of memos and email. It also boasts active personal engagement in the comments section.
 I got second Best Commentary Blog.  First went to Craig Medred's Alaska Life at the Alaska Dispatch.  The judge in this category, Abraham Hyatt, wrote:
"Aufrecht's posts are a reminder of the journalistic freedom and fun that blogging allows. Jumping from topic to topic, he successfully treads that delicate line in blogging between ego fulfillment and serious insight."
You can read all the press awards yourself here.  The list goes on for 31 pages (only 22 for the one without comments.)

I'm sure that most Alaskan bloggers didn't even know there were categories for bloggers.  I only learned last year when I accidentally ran into the Press Club conference at UAA. 

I wasn't sure how a blog would be judged.  I had to pick about ten posts for each category.  But that hardly gives a sense of a blog.  Plus it was hard to separate news posts from commentary posts.  And it's hard to say the blog is one or the other.  Having Outsiders judge is good because it minimizes bias based on who you know - a big problem in a state where everyone knows everyone.  But it also means that they are looking at posts without any context of the state and the media coverage here.

Anniversaries stimulate reflection and I've decided it's time to review how I've got the blog set up.  At the beginning, when I knew nothing and things were less complicated, I was constantly making changes.  But I've grown into a routine and leaving the basic platform alone is easier.  But I know I want to add a tab on top that will focus on the why's and wherefore's of the blog to make it a little easier for people trying to navigate.  But I'd rather spend more time blogging than monitoring all the new gizmos available to spiff up the blog.

When I started, I purposely left my identity vague.  I wanted people to read my posts without being colored by what I looked like or by how I was labeled.  If they wanted to know about me, they could read the posts.  Over time a lot is revealed.  I'm still vaguely identified, but I don't hide who I am  when i talk to people or when it's relevant to the post - like this one - and I've been identified publicly on other blogs.

Finally my appreciation goes out to all of you who read this blog and especially to those of you who take time to comment or email.   And those who point people my way.  Google has made this more than a private notebook and the Immoral Minority and Progressive Alaska have sent quite a few readers this way too.  Thanks to you all.  


  1. congratulations on the awards! they are well deserved.

    I can't remember how I got to your blog in the first place but I bookmarked it a while ago and have always enjoyed it. thanks

  2. I'm a newbie to your interestingly-varied blog, but like very much that I could go back 6 years of posts to catch up.

    Thanks for your dedication. I know how much time it can take, if you are diligent. Congrats on the awards!

  3. I know some folks who can help with evil eye protection from Romania over here... and the remarkable thing is, that remark is racist here in the UK (and pretty much all of Europe). I don't know if Americans can really appreciate how deeply nations divide here and how much colour isn't the first issue -- it's culture, history and language.

    Anyway Steve, congratulations from a long-time reader and friend. I got one or two of those pesky Ak Press Club awards for work I did with a radio journalist on KSKA in the 80s -- David McCartney: great guy who taught me much of what and why I appreciate about good journalism.

    And now my little moment but take it as a bounce off your timeline comment. In July of 2006, Gene and I were in the middle of the hand-off activities at Out North. We've been in England for over five years now and this Thursday -- yes, this week! I'm becoming a UK citizen as HRH has allowed me entry to her kingdom (yeah, traditional sexism, it goes way back).

    Your six years and my five and then some. Both measures of changes and life accomplishments. But really, we're just both doing what we know we want to do, aren't we?

    Best to your continued writing and remember, your readers check facts!


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