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Rob Port the Pioneer

robportI first met Rob Port back in 2008 when he and I were simultaneously reporting on issues in our local and state public policy ranging from private property rights and fiscal responsibility to government transparency. He was a blogger and his website called SayAnything was just getting off the ground. At the time, he also did a weekly webcast from what looked to be a spare room in his basement or apartment. The Gadsden flag, hanging in the background with the words “DONT TREAD ON ME” printed in black ink on a yellow field.

By contrast I carried the title “Investigative Reporter” for a non-profit organization which is now defunct. However, despite me having the credentials and actual newsroom experience it was Rob Port who developed a career for himself in the arena of political and news commentary.

Today, you can read excerpts of his posts and follow links to his website from The Fargo Forum – our state’s largest-circulating newspaper. Whereas I am no longer working in news reporting along with most of my reporter peers I knew back in the late 2000s. We all learned that working for a newspaper barely pays the bills.

Having worked my way into a position of Managing Editor of a small weekly newspaper, I quickly learned in my mid-twenties how much it stinks being paid on salary. Despite working fifty hours each week or more, I still felt I was falling behind and not serving our newspaper’s communities as well as we should.

During that time, Port was developing his website and creating posts every day – sometimes multiple times a day. By doing that, he built up his web traffic and increased his advertising revenues. And with time, he only found exponential success.

News publishers were starting to take notice of this blogger. At the time, blogs were thought to be the lowest source for reliable information – just barely ranking above the popular mock-news site The Onion. Eventually, they wanted a piece of that pie. Forum Communications approached Port offering him inclusion into the ranks of “real” journalists by bringing him on as an employee so they could publish his posts directly on their website and print editions.

But Port was smart, he didn’t simply handover the keys to the kingdom he worked so hard to build. Not only did he have a great product, branding, and content – he had thousands of loyal readers. So Port became employed by Forum Communications, but he maintained sole ownership over his website.

I’ve been thinking why couldn’t I be the next Rob Port. I have all the same writing and web building skills he started with. It’s easier than ever to create videos and do live webcasts. We wouldn’t even have to compete for readership as he tends to slant conservative and the farm girl in me leans progressive. But there is one thing holding me back – I got tired of politics.

The news can often be depressing, sometimes boring or frustrating, and occasionally scandalous. I just didn’t have the chops to keep on trudging through the muck of political discourse. It takes great intestinal fortitude to carry on as long as Rob Port has and I applaud his work and admire his success, though I wouldn’t wish it for myself.

So congratulations Rob Port! You managed to hack the system and prove that bloggers can be just as reliable and reputable as brick-and-mortar news sources. And thank you for paving the way for other political commentators such as yourself who may not have the time or money to invest in a four-year journalism degree.

You are a pioneer and I look forward to seeing the next generation of bloggers that follow in your wake.

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3 Comments

  1. Becky

     /  July 27, 2018

    Maybe you should post something that is true. Maybe you should blog about your multiple personalities, how you blame them for all of your infidelities. Why don’t you tell everyone about telling your man that you were going out for milk then be gone for a week with another man.

    Reply
  2. Richard (i.e. Becky) – I decided to allow your comment here and I also decided to take my time writing a response. I don’t mind the fake names, but please keep it relevant to the topic. If you want to comment something like this you can do so on posts about you – not my colleagues.

    Reply
  3. Also, I have written about mental illness – both my personal struggles as well as general information. In fact, it is one of the tags listed on the right sidebar. Here’s the link: https://justonetake.com/tag/mental-illness/

    Reply

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