Thursday, July 31, 2008

Dem bloggers in Rocky Mtn. News story

Great piece yesterday in Denver's Rocky Mountain News about us bloggers going to the Democratic National Convention Aug. 25-28. The piece focuses on out of Denver.

Aaron Silverstein and John Erhardt entered the blogosphere a few years ago, eager to have their voices heard and to motivate fellow Democrats as President Bush settled into a second term. Their liberal blog,, was one of 55 given credentials to sit with delegations from their state for a front-row seat to what is being billed as a historic convention. SquareState is hardly overwhelmed with traffic, with about 17,000 unique visitors in June. But that's about to change.

"We want to be both a gateway into the convention for our readers as well as eyes inside to bring stories out," said Silverstein, 41, who left a job at the Denver coffee shop Scooter Joe's and is now a staffer at Democrats Work, an organization that promotes community service.

I read SquareState occasionally, and it's amazingly rich and complex. It has a number of correspondents, one of them an Iraq War veteran Rafael Noboa. There's a lot to cover in Colorado, and these bloggers do it with a fine Liberal bent.

As one of those 55 convention bloggers, I'm a bit concerned about my traffic count. The Rocky says that SquareState "is hardly overwhelmed with traffic" with its mere 17,000 visitors in June. Gulp. Hummingbirdminds had quite a bit less that 17,000 visitors in June, even if I count my Uncle Bill the Republican and old college chums. I am a lone wolf (dangerous in Wyoming -- I could get shot) in this field, so it takes some time and effort to cover all the news that I see fit to print. But maybe that's the way a prog-blog in Wyoming should be. I do have to point out that I too joined the world of blogs in 2005 after Bush was elected for the second time. Although I jumped right into blogging against the Iraq War, it took me a little longer to broaden my horizons. I now regularly pick on Wyoming's own Dr. Evil, Dick Cheney.

In the article, I do like what Democracy for New Mexico blogger Barbara Wold says about newspapers. She said that "she relies on the 'mainstream' media," which we bloggers in the know refer to (usually disdainfully) as MSM.

"How could we function without them?" Wold asked. "Personally, I'm sorry to see newspapers struggling. That's our material."

The New Mexico blog, which has raised around $5,000 for Democrats in the past couple of years, is not afraid to blast Democrats and has not been pressured by party officials, Wold said.

As a former print newspaper reporter, I too rely on many online newspapers for my material, usually as a jumping-off point for my Liberal nattering. I read the online version of the Casper Star-Tribune -- a great web site, by the way. I read the print version of the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle, hoping to find some good stuff to launch my morning blog. Its web site is lousy. There's the usual scan of the top-notch New York Times web site and a perusal of the Billings Gazette in Montana, which covers Wyoming. This takes time, of course, and sometimes makes me late for work.

I also have to say that I haven't been pressured by party officials. This isn't the Pravda of the Soviet era, although I sometimes get a bit of a samizdat rush. I've been active with the Laramie County Democrats since, as a newbie, I walked into the 2004 county convention and was immediately made a delegate to the state convention because the Dems were short of warm bodies. I've served as secretary to the party, and also attended many boring meetings in the past four years. But "boring" is a word best left to teens. There's a lot of grunt work to be done before you can attain glory as a blogger at the Democratic National Convention.

Read the full text of the RMN article at


Julie Fanselow said...

No worries, HM. Blogging traffic is all about links, and I'm sure you'll be getting plenty during the DNC. I plan to be offering daily digests to all the Western bloggers during the DNC.

Speaking of which, can you add Red State Rebels to your blogroll at right? We've been at it since 2003, and I am one of your compatriots in the Obama 10 posts in 10 weeks project. Thanks!
Boise, Idaho

Good luck and have fun in Denver!

kainah said...

You may not have as much traffic as some other blogs but those of us who are also on the progressive wing in Wyoming appreciate your work, so no need to fear!

mpage225 said...

Mike, the latest polls are in and show that, in a pool of all my former room mates,you are once again the #1 rated blogger.

Seriously, I only read 2 blogs regularly-Hummingbird first and then Altercation. Then it is off to Gator Country to try to forget just how badly Bush has screwed things up (and how willingly the American people let him do it).

I am thrilled you will be representing Wyoming and will be following your posts closely.

Your old college chum,

Bob (not that one, the other Bob)

Michael Shay said...

Julie: I've added your link to the blogroll. Ten positive Obama posts in 10 weeks should be a breeze. We'll leave the negatives to McCain. He seems to revel in that role.

bearkid said...

Hi- It is nice to know who is blogging but my reading choice is Keith Goodenough. He is blogging at And if you could - please change his web address in your links to

Michael Shay said...

O.K. I'll link to his blog.