One Year of The Same Rowdy Crowd — Now What?

It’s been a year since the first post on this blog. Gary Hornseth, one of our writers, suggests we call this a “pilot” year. Figure out what’s been good, keep that, dump what hasn’t worked, and come up with some new stuff.

We appreciate you folks who’ve been reading us during this year, and love the lively discussions you’ve added to the blog. The comments are often better — and often rowdier — than the posts. We love that we’ve attracted people who disagree with us and are willing and eager to pound on us.

We’ve been limping lately. Not posting daily. We don’t have enough writers putting up enough smart stuff.

We’ve had some great internal email discussions among the writers about whether this blog is worth continuing. I think it is, mostly because I’ve had a gas doing it and reading what other people have to say. It’s been a great outlet for shooting my mouth off, connecting with friends, hearing new voices and keeping my writing fingers tapping.

The biggest issue about the value of the blog is whether we are willing to take on enough local issues, fearlessly, to be worth reading. All of us make our living from consulting with clients, or teaching, or both. If we really chew on local people in the communications and journalism business, will we have any clients left? If we just write namby-pamby stuff, or write too much about national and international stuff (used to be called “Afghanistanism,” back when Afghanistan seemed far away, and editorial writers would comment about far-off issues rather than piss off local advertisers) we won’t have or deserve any readers.

We have taken on some local companies, and the ensuing comments have been great fun to read. And we’re all still making a living. One local company, Thomson West, recently engaged me for training even though one of our writers had criticized the company for its desire for taxpayer help. The West folks were aware of the posts, and hired one of the Rowdies anyway. That’s pretty cool — they understand that criticism is part of public policy and public debate.

We’ve kept our stable of writers to independent consultants and one college teacher — thinking that a writer of posts who works for a company would feel too constrained to be rowdy. But it turns out we independents have been pretty constrained ourselves. Maybe our idea of independence hasn’t been working.

So let’s ask our readers (and to my surprise we still have hundreds) — what do you want from this blog? How can it be better? What should we be doing that we’re not doing? What should we be writing about? Should we keep going into year two?