I'm still buried under my book proposal(s), alternating from my desk to my Xbox 360 for a game or two of Halo when I can't concentrate. Anyhow, I just wanted to thank readers for their help with my newspaper column - I got word that in the last few weeks a number of publications including the Florida Times-Union, Salon.com and the Bennington Banner added to the list of those that run it. Depending on the week, it now runs in about 40 or 50 publications nationwide and as one editor said about the decision to start running it, "Your readers had a role to play in our decision." In other words, when I've asked readers who like my column to look up their local newspaper editors, contact them and ask them to run my column, apparently a lot of you have done just that.
So just a big thank you to everyone for your help, and apologies for not being around here much lately, or likely in the indefinite future.*
You know, I get criticized by a few folks for "self-promoting." I've never really understood this attack considering the fact that we recognize that we need more progressive voices in the media, and that we need more progressive media voices to have an interactive relationship with the Netroots and the progressive movement - and yet, somehow it's bad to try to do those things.
My sense is that there's a weird but predictable psychological thing that happens - those who have "made it" like Olbermann or Maddow are so famous and revered (and deservedly so) nobody criticizes them for "self-promotion." But those of us who are just working stiffs in the media business (ie. those of us not on the glamorous teevee machine all the time) - when we try to get their work out there, we are somehow getting uppity and "self-promotional."
I don't think anyone in the writing/journalism business should be criticized for "self-promotion." In an age of cannibalized media where you can be thrown out on the street at a moment's notice, at a moment when I sit up at night worrying about my family's economic situation (like so many others do theirs), I can tell you firsthand if you don't go out and make your own way - if you don't do your own part in getting your work out there and effectively building your own media - nobody else will do it for you. Nobody. You'll be roadkill.
Indeed, we need more so-called "self-promoters" to get our message out there. It's why I use my column to promote the hell out of grassroots groups and activists who get no attention (see this week's column on the Colorado Progressive Coalition and the New York, Oregon and Connecticut branches of the Working Families Party). And I think it's why despite a vocal few, the core readership of my work - the silent majority of the movement, if you will - has been so supportive of that endeavor, as evidenced by the growth of the column at the hands of reader support.
So for that, again, I just want to state my sincerest thank you. The best part about doing what I do - at least for me - is to get to try to work with all of you and contribute what I can to our movement. If I wanted "fortune and glory," as Indiana Jones calls it, I would have long ago chosen something else (and believe me, the newspaper column is a true labor of love in the sense that it takes a long time to craft each week but doesn't even come close to paying a living wage - thus the reason I have to hold down four jobs). The interaction with all of you - yes, even the nastiest most ad hominem critics - make it worth it to stay in this line of work.
Now, maybe I'd make something more like a living wage if I could somehow figure out a way to monetize all the hater comments... :)* I've been pulling 100 hour weeks on book projects and will likely be out on reporting trips for the forseeable future, so my contributions here will be sporadic.