Last April, within my first few days of working for the Beacon, I was asked to write a blog for our brand new Web site. I stared at the computer for two hours and then asked Editor Kellyn Brown, “Um, what do you want me to write about?” Coming up with ideas can still be an elusive process, and blog writing occasionally feels burdensome when we’re overloaded with other work, but overall the blog has proven to be both a refreshing creative outlet and an important – and popular – part of our Web site. Today, I reflect on a year of the Beacon Blog.
Usually my blogs are personal, if not nostalgic. I enjoy letting readers get a glimpse of the person behind the byline – adding a human element, perhaps, to the newspaperman. We all share this fundamental mentality in our blogs, but our approaches differ.
Kellyn’s blogs tend to be topical, often focusing on politics, such as his recent predictions for the Flathead’s implications in the Democratic presidential primary. Dan Testa’s are diverse, from the time he pontificated on the plight of the Melungeon people to his plea for closure to a mysterious and brutal crime: the destruction of his jack-o-lantern. The jack-o-lantern blog will forever hold a special place in Beacon lore. Also, Dan likes to blog about food.
Photographer Lido Vizzutti, who today is retired from the blog business, quickly and unintentionally discovered two hot-button issues here in the Flathead with his earliest blogs: dining options and coffee shops. These two blogs prompted immediate and sometimes angry comments from readers. At the very least, they showed us people were reading, which we weren’t really sure of at the time.
When Keriann Lynch came to the staff in September, she made it clear that she loathed the idea of blogs. Her thinking was: I don’t like writing in the first person so I’m not going to do it. Of course, she didn’t have a choice and we’re pleased to have her contributions to the Beacon Blog. She brings the only female perspective, a welcome addition with pieces like her blog on male role models.
One of our most popular blogs was an unforeseen success. Struggling to pinpoint a blog idea one day, I opted to write about gnomes. I must make it clear that this decision was provoked, or at least inspired, by a bizarre little video Dan had included in the News Buffet. By the end of the day it was our most read story of the week and one of the most popular of the month.
I scanned through every Beacon blog written since last April and came up with a handful of favorites. Here they are, for your clicking and reading pleasure:
–The Elusive Chin Curtain – Kellyn
–The House That Nerf Built – Myers
–Long Live Dodgeball – Dan
–Thanks for Sharing, Barry – Keriann
–UFOs and YouTube – Lido
–Give August Some Credit – Myers
–An Unintentional Homicide – Keriann
–Treasure Hunting – Lido
–Dude You’re Not on TV – Dan
–When Birth Names Aren’t Enough – Myers
–Straight to the Comments – Kellyn
–Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa – Keriann
–Frostbite, Steak and the Montana Way – Myers
–Writer’s Strike, Reality Sets In – Kellyn (check out the comments)
–Pomp and Circumstance – Keriann
–The Sting of Old Sitcoms – Dan
–A Spat of Hypochondria – Kellyn
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