Posts Tagged ‘Blogging’

Off Again, On Again

November 29, 2011 Leave a comment

I’m back!

Yeah, you’ve read that one before…..two or three times before, in fact. I have something of a love-hate relationship with blogging. Love getting my ideas out there and having a dialogue, hate the feeling that I “have” to produce and deal with fallout when there’s a line to read between (and there always is, but isn’t that the trouble with ALL forms of communication?)

But it’s true, I am getting back into the swing. For one, I have a real need to communicate. I was recently elected as one of Shenandoah County’s two directors on the Lord Fairfax Soil and Water Conservation District’s Board of Directors. It may surprise some, but I really want a platform to connect directly with citizens. I’m not willing to settle for the filter of staff and the media–of course, not that I should be worrying about those things, since I have no staff and the media barely paid any attention to the election itself. But I do want to set a new standard for elected officials, regardless of what level they’re at, to move beyond the filter. They say that a gaffe happens when a politician speaks the truth (is an elected official mentioning this a gaffe in of itself? Pretty meta…..) But I want voters to know exactly what’s going on, and exactly what my decision making process is. Since I already have the blog and the address, way not do that here?

So what else am I going to write about here? Well, business as usual–whatever tickles my fancy. So expect a mix of politics, popular culture, history, and the such. There may very well be something in this mix that someone feels is a mistake to share with the public, but that’s how I operate. I was elected to be a representative of the people…and as a citizen, I have opinions of my own, and I intend to share them. I think elected officials should never tuck away their own opinions, but we’ll see how well it works when you actually share them….

Anything else? Well, my last project on the web was Shenandoah Sunshine. That project, designed to bring out more information on local government and politics here in Shenandoah County, has been on hiatus for quite sometime. I feel it was a noble effort, but I am still re-evaluating the size and scope (after all, I found out very quickly that, with a real job and no source of revenue from the project, it wasn’t as easy as it seemed, despite how desperately it may be needed).

So stay tuned, and keep coming back. I assure you I have plenty to share, and I thank you for stopping by.



A View From Blogs United

November 23, 2009 Leave a comment

Krystle from CCC has a post up at Bearing Drift reviewing Blogs United, a bipartisan new media conference held down in the Beach this weekend. I wasn’t able to make it (it’s my first week back, people!) due to some previous engagements, but it sounds like a great effort. Krystle also posted a great overview of those congressional candidates who were in attendance.

I hope to get out there and do some event coverage soon. Anyone want to convince me on the Advance? Or should I save my pennies for CPAC, the mecca of conservatives? I would hold something for bloggers in the Northern Valley, but alas, it would seem that one IS the loneliest number after all. SWAC certainly is a bustling hub, though.

Change is a-comin’

I have hinted at this for a while, but my employment status has changed and thus will also be changing this blog. 

I have accepted a job offer from the Republican National Committee to serve as field representative for the Shenandoah Valley during the upcoming general election. In this capacity I will be responsible for motivating voters for the Republican ticket and mobilizing the grassroots volunteers to do so. Because of the nature of the job, I’ve decided to change the focus of this blog. In my capacity I’ll be doing alot of work in the field, and via the written word, photos, and video, I hope to bring you a glimpse of the campaign that is often underreported in the media–the grassroots. I won’t be commenting as much on issues of the day, the challenges our party faces, or on the “horse race” aspects of the primary campaigns. However, I do want to keep this blog up as a place for me to use during hiatuses as well as to provide a creative outlet for me during the campaign, so expect more book reviews and personal musings. I’ll also still try to bring you the big news from the Governor and Delegates races. For now, however, my focus is on electing our entire Republican team in the Valley, and I hope to bring you a unique perspective on that during the coming weeks and months. Don’t expect nearly as frequent posts, but I hope to bring you something at least once a week. 

Thanks to those of you who have spent a little bit of time reading my thoughts on politics, and particularly to those of you who have challenged me. I like to think I’ve demonstrated what can be done on a local level with a blog such as this and provided some pithy thoughts on the big picture issues along the way. 

Thanks again, and I’ll be seeing you on the trail.

The Potential for Local Blogs

February 5, 2009 Leave a comment

Virginia Super-blogger Ben Tribbett (aka Not Larry Sabato) is featured in a PBS article about the growing potential for local bloggers to cover niche subjects:

The fact that three high-level politicians would take the time out of their day to pay their respects to Tribbett gives credence to the power he wields in Virginia politics as a result of his blog, Not Larry Sabato. Launched anonymously in 2005, NLS quickly gained traction because it was one of the only news sources that dished dirt on the people behind Virginia political campaigns. Relatively low-level campaign workers who were not typically allowed to speak to traditional news outlets were suddenly seeing their names pop up on the blog, starting a state-wide guessing game as to who was writing the posts. 

But Tribbett wasn’t even living in the state at the time; he had an apartment in Las Vegas. His insider’s knowledge stemmed directly from his work on previous Virginia campaigns, and by the time he finally came out and revealed his identity, his blog was read by just about every campaign operative and political reporter in Virginia. It was because of this that the campaign of then-senatorial candidate Jim Webb approached the blogger in 2006 to orchestrate the YouTube release of Senator George Allen’s infamous “macaca” moment.

Tribbett is not the only example of a local or regional blogger quickly gaining power with an influential readership. As city daily papers continue to strain under the pressure of massive reporter lay-offs, hundreds of knowledgeable and independent local bloggers are rising up and finding themselves with small, niche audiences that sometimes provide massive political sway. And as these local bloggers continue to carve out their beats, local politicians and reporters are increasingly courting them in attempts to steer media coverage.

So, thoughts? With about 120 posts, many on some fairly esoteric topics, this blog is beginning to reach its stride? How can I improve coverage of local politics? To quote Ed Koch: “How’m I doin’?”

Do Citizen Journalists Owe the IRS?

February 4, 2009 Leave a comment

Of late mainstream media outlets have attempted to co-opt the movement towards independent journalism by creating their own outlets with the Average Joe can upload their own videos and reports, attempting to cut into the success of bloggers and YouTubers. It’s largely been a sideshow for many, although there have been instances where it has greatly enhanced coverage (to wit, the Virginia Tech shootings, where students on the ground submitted videos of the chaos on campus). However, according to, these citizen journalists may very well owe Uncle Sam some money for their hard work:

 While the “volunteers” have their own personal reasons for giving their work away—everything from raising their own profiles or exposing corruption and criminality to pure altruism—they may be unknowingly stepping into a tax minefield. Indeed, according to the rules of the Internal Revenue Service, this popular cost-slashing strategy—the business model for which is based on transfers of content (intellectual property) from citizen journalists to media outlets at no fee—may subject the contributors to a gift tax.

With this in mind, has asked the question: Is the “donation” of a citizen’s content (video, articles, commentaries, images) to for-profit media outlets that exceeds a fair market value of $12,000 in any single year subject to gift tax? Judging from the IRS guidelines, the answer is “yes.”


The bottom line: has uncovered a real hornet’s nest for both for-profit media companies’ business models and citizen journalists who must now examine how much work they have “donated” to any one media outlet over the past year. You should ask your accountant for help. You may even need to go to the expense of hiring a professional copyrights appraiser to help you declare what is called the fair market value (FMV) of your donations, as required by the IRS, and to file a 709 gift tax form. Your professional tax advisors may even suggest that you go back retrospectively for several years to consider re-filing taxes and sending in 709 forms for previous years, if the values seem like they would exceed the previous years’ $12,000 annual excemptions.

I would consult a tax lawyer before you going trawling around the IRS site for hours to figure out if you might soon be joining the ranks of Tom Daschle and Timothy Geithner as those on Uncle Sam’s list. However, it goes to show demonstrate once more the closing gap between the creative class and the professional media and just how many options are out there for those who want to combine activism with reporting.