Didn't the Argus have a weblog? Maybe? Anyone?

I was reading Mt. Blogmore, the Rapid City Journal's eminently entertaining weblog, and catching up on comments by Charlie House, Sibby, Don Frankenfeld, Doug Wiken, and the rest of the regular cast of characters that clash time and again on that board. It's kind of neat, because unlike many blogs, including this one, the fun is in the comments, as opposed to the monologue.

I was kind of wishing that they talked more often about the politics behind the news on my side of the river, not that Pierre is very far from being 'West River', and I was reminded of the fact that the Argus' own weblog was not there anymore. Ah, Argus Leader Weblog, we hardly knew ye. How could that weblog not survive, when it was backed by the mighty Gannett publishing empire?

Yes, the fact was that the Argus Leader had a weblog for about a month and a half before it went down in flames. (Look, up in the sky, it's a weblog and.... it's on fire! Oh my god, it's going down fast!)

A month and a half. Vanilla Ice lasted longer than that. If their blog was a person, it would be on "The Surreal Life" by now. Or at least Celebrity Fit Club.

Just looking at it through the Wayback Machine shows me that it started with a post from Randall Beck on 7/23/04 with this quote at the end of the article:
One more thing: Some of you may recall that we started, early on, forcing the candidates to talk for themselves, rather than their campaign machinery, in stories on the races. My personal feeling is that's been a big success. Folks I encounter in the community tell me they appreciate being able read what Daschle or Thune are saying, rather than their handlers. I think it will help, as we get closer to November, notch down the tone a step or two. The longer I'm in journalism the more I realize that people who hitch a ride on a candidate's coattails tend to be far more strident - in substance and tone - than the candidates themselves. Of course, we have learned the spin doctors are really irritated they're being cut out of the loop. I told one guy recently: ''Hey, when you actually run for some office, we'll quote you. But not before then.''
Well, that was their first mistake. Did they actually believe their own hype? I sometimes get paid for my skills at political puffery - and I'm not buying it.

And what's with the attitude that the hired help around campaigns are worthless and not worth even 5 minutes of fame? That, and the assumption that what the candidates say is the unvarnished truth. You would expect the hired help to be more strident. We're not running for anything. It they aren't true believers, you didn't hire the right people. And yes, the candidate is warm and friendly. It's their job.

Actually it's the hired helper, as I sometimes am, who is going to provide the unvarnished truth, with all it's warts and foibles. We stumble, and as much as we attempt not to, we say and do dumb-assed things. It's our humanity showing through our robotic political sheath. I could get more out of an hour with campaign workers than a day's worth with a candidate. The candidate is the one trying to get elected. Not realizing that makes (made) the Argus look a little silly with that statement.

The 9/04 post from the Argus Leader Weblog which marked it's deathknell was some really riveting material on poll results, as you can read in the next snippet:
Of course we all know that variables such as the size and makeup of the polling sample, even the type and wording of questions can impact the results of such surveys. So, it's hard for voters to determine which polls are most accurate.
Zzzzzzzzz.... Oh, I'm sorry. Did I nod off? Where was the glibness? Where was anything that gave us insight into the webloggers soul? That's why we read and write these things. That's the entertainment factor. This posting was as cold and clinical as testing the corpses on CSI for insect invasion. I think their ultimate problem was that they had no sass.

With the research base that they have available, I'd be rattling off obscure facts and quotes, and weaving those stories into the tapestry of current political context. Not the dry stuff they did.

Argus, here's a proposition for you. Give it to me. Give me the Argus blog to resurrect. Give me access to the years and years of research at my hot little fingertips. And I'll give it renewed life. I'll make it fun again. Do I need editor by my last name as with the prior cast of characters? Hell no. I'm barely literate. Which might qualify me to do television newscasting on uses for plastic bags. Or web logging.

So, the challenge is made. Let me pull the stake from it's heart, and make it fun. Or not. In which case, I'll just keep doing my own thing. Or I'll start a newspaper for the barely literate political hack.


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