Hello Midnight Sun readers.
After a fitful night-before-Christmas sleep under the actual midnight sun in Fairbanks, Alaska, I’m excited to officially be writing here.
In the two weeks since I decided to take the leap from print media to the blog life, I’ve been wondering what I’d write for my debut post. What big scoop or scathing takedown I’d have on my first day. Instead, I felt like it’d be a good opportunity to answer some pressing questions, lay some groundwork and talk about my plans for The Midnight Sun.
I see this post as a road map as much for myself as it is for you.
Let’s get the big question out of the way first. I have complete editorial freedom to pursue the stories, scoops and hot takes that I see fit. Yes, this place is owned by a guy with his own business and personal agenda, but so is the state’s largest newspaper. The only requirement he has for me had is good, quality content. That’s it.
Also, hey, this is 2017. Journalism is a weird, evolving monster. Ultimately any journalistic endeavor will live and die by the trust between the reader and the writer, and I hope to earn your trust.
So just who is this Matt Buxton guy?
After I announced that I’d be taking this job, a few friends from the political world warned me people would be on the lookout for any political bias. So, hey, here’s the deal. I grew up in Portland, Oregon and when I graduated high school I was unsurprisingly what you might call an insufferable punk. I was liberal without really knowing why and probably would have stayed that way except for four unexpected years in the Great Plains. I begrudgingly went to college at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln because they offered a good scholarship. It was one of the best decisions of my life.
That’s where I met real-life Republicans, and was stunned to find that not only did we speak the same language but we also agreed on much more than we didn’t. It was a tremendous moderating force in my personal beliefs and the key to my career in journalism.
Today, I like it when things work (which maybe not be the best position for a political blogger). I like public policy based on clear evidence and policymakers who have an open mind to that evidence.
So what’s it going to be like
I wish I knew exactly. I have some ideas. Chiefly, I plan to continue what I’ve done before: track and explain the Legislature, politics and public policy with a dash of snark and humor. I’ll get to do more editorializing in this format, but will always do my best in those fits of opinion to explain my reasoning, provide evidence and cite my sources.
Changes and constants
The core mission of The Midnight Sun is still the same. We plan to provide an in-depth and behind-the-scenes look at Alaska politics and public policy.
We still plan to do everyone’s favorite weekly rumor roundup Friday in the Sun (I’m working on setting up a tips line, but for now hit me up at [email protected]).
I’ll be launching another weekly feature where I’ll be answering, to the best of my ability, your questions. I’ll be sending out calls for questions on Twitter and via email (send them to me with the subject line of “NEED TO KNOW” ), and be answering them in a weekly post. This can be whatever you guys want it to be, and I expect it to range from the serious to the silly.
There are other things in the works, but that’s everything that I’m ready to announce for now.
In wrap up
Thanks for making it this far. I’ll wrap up with an example of my questions feature (I still need a name for it, suggestions?) by answering all the questions folks have had for me since I announced my move.
Will you be staying in Fairbanks?
Yes, for the foreseeable future. I once lived in six different places during a single calendar year so I hate moving and crave a little stability.
Will you be down in Anchorage more often?
Yep. Let’s get a beer.
How about Juneau?
Probably, but only if I can be sure something fun is happening.
What are you going to be doing next?
How do you pronounce gif?
With a hard g. I’ve heard the creator of the gif pronounces it the other way, but he’s wrong.
Who’s your favorite wrestler?
Chris Jericho or Alexa Bliss or maybe Lucha Underground’s The Mack.
Will there be more pictures of Tuco?
In the famous words of our ex-governor: You betcha.
What will happen to @FDNMpolitics?
There’s a search underway already to find a replacement for me at the News-Miner. Last I heard there was a great deal of interest in the position and there are already some very qualified candidates for consideration. If you’re interested find the News-Miner’s job posting at journalismjobs.com.