In October 2004, there were very few people who could help me define what a “newsblog” would look like because … well, there weren’t any.
But as Sacramento Bureau Chief for KQED Public Radio, I knew that there was a void in cyberspace when it came to substantive glimpses into the world of politics and public policy under the dome of the state Capitol.
And so, armed only with some free blogging software and my reporter’s notebook, “Capital Notes” was launched—the first political blog in California written by a news reporter, not by an opinion writer or a partisan intent on making their points even when it might conflict with (gasp) the truth.
My interest in a blog was pretty simple: There were—and still are—lots of great small stories every day in Sacramento, and not all merit full-blown radio coverage. But for political junkies who want a quick look at what’s new, there needed to be an outlet. There also needed to be a venue for the bits of information and interviews that couldn’t fit in a radio story.
Five years later, “Capital Notes” has thousands of visitors every month and a unique spot in the daily ebb and flow of web news on California politics. I typically post one or two items a day—from the dynamics behind a piece of legislation to a few snippets of audio from the governor or other political VIP.
The blog is frequently mentioned online by other news organizations; hundreds have also signed up for email alerts. There are even international readers— perhaps enjoying the spectacle that is Golden State politics?
In 2006, “Capital Notes” took the next logical step: a weekly podcast. After all, what’s more familiar for a radio journalist than sitting down and talking about the big news of the day? Capitol reporters sit down with me each week for discussion and analysis. The podcast has quickly found its niche inside the iPods of all kinds of people who tell me it gives them a chance to plug in at a time convenient to their own schedule, not ours.
Thousands of postings since it all began, “Capital Notes” has undoubtedly changed the way I cover politics. It gives me a chance to hone in on the items that tell a larger truth about government in California … and to do so using the timeline and style of online journalism, which is really driving the work we all do in covering the important events of the day.
—John Myers, KQED Public Radio Sacramento Bureau Chief