In 2008, Rogue Columnist began as my pro-bono work for the readers I left behind at the Arizona Republic. Nobody was offering my brand of analysis and commentary on Phoenix and Arizona's most critical issues or much on their rich history. Since then, it has developed a national and international readership.
Welcome! Here are a few tips:
1. Comments are welcome. And easy. You can comment using your own email address or a fake one. Pick a nom de plume or use your name. I don't care. All viewpoints are encouraged.
You will be more persuasive if you remember Daniel Patrick Moynihan's advice: "You are entitled to your own opinion but you are not entitled to your own facts." Be part of the reality based community.
My views may be considered "liberal" in today's America, but no one (contrary to a meme out there) has ever been banned from Rogue for being "conservative." Personal attacks are discouraged but you will find the debate among commenters can be vigorous and bracing. That said, they are the smartest and kindest bunch you will find on the Net.
2. I try to post two entries a week. That's my aspiration but not a promise — I have several paying gigs and was careless in choosing my parents. If I am slow to produce, feel free to take the most recent comments thread in a new direction. Unfortunately, because of spammers, comments are closed on individual columns after one month. But the most recent threads are open.
3. Spammers, you say? If you are selling something and put your sales URL in your comment, you will be deleted and blocked. This is a non-profit blog, for me and for you.
4. Get the most out of Rogue. There's more than the column. To the right, The Front Page offers interesting news you might not have seen elsewhere; it is gathered by Front Page Editor Richard Silc and updated daily.
Also, the site provides four pages under "In-Depth Reports": Arizona's Continuing Crisis, Best of the Front Page, Climate/Energy/Water and the City Desk. Each aggregates important stories on these topics. And check out the Phoenix 101 archive for my original columns on Phoenix and Arizona history.
5. Can't get through? Rogue Columnist runs on the Typepad platform. Follow this link for information about service outages.
6. Where to find me. I'm @jontalton on Twitter; here on Facebook; on Tumblr at jontalton.tumblr.com; on Pinterest (which I don't really understand); Google+, and assorted bars in Seattle and Phoenix. I promise a Twitter feed worth your time.
Beyond Rogue, you can find my Seattle Times columns here and my Seattle Times blog here. Novels, you say? Here's the author site. If you have the journalism jones, here are the articles I write for the Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism at ASU. I'm on KUOW, Seattle's NPR station, every other Monday in the 1 p.m. hour.
7. You can subscribe to Rogue in a reader or receive updates via email. See the sign-up bugs on the right, below the shameless promotion of my books.
8. I don't have all the answers. But this is a column, not a news story. So I am writing opinion and analysis, backed by the facts. I have my say. Then, in the comments section, you get yours.
9. Make sure your seat backs and tray tables are in their full upright position, and your seat belt is correctly fastened — this is not the kind of commentary that is welcomed by the Phoenix powers-that-be, or even many average people. Here's an exchange that illustrates the issue.