TNB has been running for about five months now. During that time it’s grown from a core of four people to a double-handful of contributors, and a tiny group of readers to an established site.
As the fifth and final member of the original group, I want to issue a broad thanks to everyone, and provide a little insight.
First, Tiff. Tiff is, as anyone can tell from the sheer quantity of posts, a machine. I worry about her burning herself out simply because of how much she posts here. She’s clever, informed, and outspoken.
Second, Beth. Beth is thoughtful, incisive, and empathetic. Her ability to ferret out domestic political news is matched only by Tiff. How much she’s loved was shown when she announced she had to go in for the first of a few surgeries, by the many volunteers that offered to help in her absence.
Third, Lenny. Lenny seems to me like he’s underappreciated. Let me attempt to correct that. Lenny is the person who creates or finds about 95% of the images in the headers or stories on TNB. He creates the daily polls. He’s also, however, fallen into the “editor” role here, however unofficially. Lenny and Steve do the bulk of the moderating. Lenny works to keep the scheduling tight. Lenny posts tips on stories throughout the day. Lenny and Steve field most of the guest article submissions. (More on that, later) He’s the primary driver for our advertising outreach. (More on that later, too.) Lenny also writes articles, when he finds the time among all of the other stuff he’s doing.
Fourth, Steve. Steve walked in with a blog history behind him of carefully researched and reasoned articles on the Constitution and the foundation of our country. He also supplies knowledge on web site design and maintenance, moderates, fields guest submissions, and writes both polemics and humor expertly.
Without any one of these four, TNB would suffer, and early on, would have failed. I thank them wholeheartedly, because TNB is, for me, a place of sanity amidst the chaos.
That’s not all, however. There have been more who have come on board since the beginning. Not all of them contribute equal volumes, but all of them, every one, is greatly appreciated. Each of them has validated what we’re doing here and has filled a desperately desired content slot at one point or another. Lyin’ Don, Halodoc, TheStig, Andrew, GretchensR, Don Sutherland, Richard, Annie M. and of course MrsMaryLou – the “amazing wife” referred to in my description. Every one of them has stepped up to help, and every one of them has added something new and valuable to the team.
There are also the guest pieces. We don’t get nearly as many as we’d like (Lenny, who is always looking to drive content, has occasionally wished that some of the giant posts about breaking news in the open threads were simply submitted as guest articles) but they do come in, and they are all very appreciated, whether published or not. It’s hard to overemphasize that. Even pieces that run into conflicts and don’t get published are LOVED. It shows that you’re thinking about us and want to help. For everyone who’s ever submitted, whether published or not, thank you.
(An aside for that: easy ways to bypass any potential conflicts in submissions? Don’t use Wikipedia for links if you can at all help it. Avoid unsubstantiated attacks. Be ready to argue your case to Lenny or Steve for anything that might be inflammatory. Aaaand… that’s about it.)
To those who have kicked money to help keep us going… thank you. It’s not required, but I do want you to know that it is appreciated, for exactly the same reason that the guest submissions are appreciated.
To anyone talking in the comment section, thank you as well. We have ways to see what site traffic is. Average people visiting the site do not. They gauge traffic by looking down and seeing how many comments are in each thread. Beyond that, you energize us, and you keep us thinking and we all entertain each other. Many story ideas have been mined from the comment sections, because we get a great group of people here.
To any lurkers, you’re appreciated as well. We know you’re here because of traffic metrics. If you’re feeling too shy to join in the conversation, or that you can’t hold your own among the informed opinions… don’t let that stop you. We have a very friendly bunch here. Just because you hold a different opinion does not mean you will be attacked. Generally speaking, as long as everyone holds to the Don’t Be a Jerk policy, things run smoothly.
Lastly, to EVERYONE:
MST3K used to close every show with a message: “Keep Circulating the Tapes”. They encouraged their viewers to record the show and present it to their friends. They wanted more people to discover them.
We’re trying to do the same thing here. We think we have a pretty great site, and we’re always trying to expand. To that end we’re reaching out to political parties and publishers, and they’re responding. The most effective outreach, though, is simply posting links and talking about us. The Night Owl is, in part, a way to give people something to post that might interest their apolitical friends and family.
Please, keep circulating the links. And one last time, thank you.