Sunday, June 02, 2013

Chris Cillizza's The Fix taps Gregory Nickerson of Wyofile as the "best political reporter in Wyoming"

Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post's "The Fix" political blog likes to make lists. In August 2011, hummingbirdminds was named one of the best state-based political blogs. He was looking at blogs on the left, right and in-between. He apparently thought it was intriguing that Wyoming had some liberal bloggers.

This week, Cillizza listed "the best political reporters in 50 states." The lone choice for Wyoming was Gregory Nickerson of Wyofile. You're not surprised if you've been reading Greg's articles. They're now getting syndicated. The Wyoming Tribune-Eagle featured one on this morning's cover. "Wyoming independent? Not really" explores our ruggedly independent state's reliance on federal funding. There's this:
Wyoming is significantly dependent on federal money. Wyofile's calculations show that the state relied on federal money for 41 percent of its spending for the 2011-12 biennium.
And this:
Other states may get more dollars, but because Wyoming's spending and population are small, few states are more dependent on federal funds.
One of many interesting facts:
Government employment is an important sector in Wyoming's economy -- the largest workforce in the state, in fact.
Here I have to divulge that I'm one of those government workers. Nickerson goes on to write that if you add up those employed in federal and state government along with those in the public school, college and hospital sectors, you get 64,000 souls which is 20 percent of the state's workforce.

I have lots of company. As columnist Paul Krza (a Rock Springs native) pointed out years ago, the state would be more fairly represented by a worker carrying a briefcase than it is by its iconic bucking bronco symbol.

Speaking about symbols of the Old West.... We like to play up the cowboy myth but the reality is far different. As Sam Western wrote in The Economist back in 1998:
"In real life, the famous Wyoming cowboy was an itinerant, landless, poverty-stricken soul, dependent upon the rancher for bread and shelter."
Sam is from Sheridan County, which is also Greg's home county. They breed some iconoclastic scribes up in the north country. Greg is also a product of the county's Young Writers Camp, once held every summer near story but being resurrected this summer at the Spear-O-Wigwam Mountain Campus in the Bighorns. I met Greg and other campers when I delivered my son to YWC back when he was in high school. A lot of talented, feisty kids came though YWC and now are making their mark as adults. It's especially gratifying to see them survive and thrive in Wyoming's tough labor market. Yes, our unemployment rate is low, but if you're not in the energy or tourism industries, it's hard to find a job. It's always gratifying to see young creatives making a difference.

Congrats to you, Greg. We eagerly anticipate your next article.

No comments: