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By Roz Rogoff

Is anybody there?

Uploaded: Jun 25, 2012

I've been writing about San Ramon for ten years. When I started the San Ramon Observer website in January of 2002 I covered City Council meetings and tried to be objective about them. I also had a Commentary page where I could be completely opinionated.

Readers would criticize my opinions as, well, opinions. It seems if a reader didn't like my opinions, then I wasn't a journalist. I repeated over and over that the Commentary page is for my opinions and the Front page is for news.

It cost me about $1500 a year to operate the San Ramon Observer website. I didn't make any money from it and I was getting tired of doing it all by myself. So I contacted Embarcadero Publishing and offered to give them the San Ramon Observer website if I could stay on writing my Commentaries. I wanted a real news organization to take over reporting the news so I could continue writing commentaries.

In December, 2008 I met with Bill Johnson, Publisher of the Palo Alto Weekly, and Gina Channel Allen, East Bay Publisher of the Pleasanton Weekly, and they said they were starting up an online "newspaper" called The San Ramon Express, which would be an electronic version similar to the already existing Danville Weekly. The Danville Weekly would also be converted from a weekly newspaper to an online Danville Express.

I was very happy with this arrangement. I liked being involved with a real new organization of professional journalists. The first year I wrote for the San Ramon Express I covered local news stores and I also wrote something called a "blog," with my opinions.

The term Blog came from "Weblog," which was originally an online diary where anyone could write anything. It didn't really matter if anyone read it and most of whatever anyone was writing was rather mundane. I recall one blogger was ridiculed for writing he had a cheese sandwich for lunch. Stop the presses, set the headline, blogger eats cheese sandwich!

Well bloggers have taken on more cogent subjects and blogs have grown into internet news sites like the Huffington Post but that still doesn't equate blogging with journalism. When I'm accused of not being a journalist, I tell my critics I'm not a journalist or a reporter, I'm a "blogger." A reporter is someone who reports the news in an impartial, factual manner. There's no clear definition of "blogger," but it appears bloggers can say anything they want as long as it is on the Internet.

For about a year I was paid for news stories, but not for the blog; so I continued to write news until I negotiated a fee for the blogs. I rarely write news any more, but it should be easy to tell a blog from news. News covers the five "W's" of journalism, who, what, when, where, and why. Bloggers and opinion writers draw conclusions and take positions on the W's. That's what commentaries are for.

I consider myself a commentator. Someone who writes an opinion column about what I like or don't like and why my readers should care. I try to post two blogs every week, one on Monday and one on Friday. I can't always come up with something to write about.

In this case I'm writing my blog about writing my blog, but I really want feedback on how I'm doing. So I hope someone reads this far and answers me with what you would like me to write about.

I try to keep up on what the City Council and Planning Commission are doing. I try to keep up with other organizations and agencies and happenings in San Ramon and the Tri-Valley. What do you want me to write about? Are my commentaries on local politics helpful or confusing or does anyone care?

I this because I believe it is important to comment on local politics and issues. I have no loyalties other than trying to identify what is best for San Ramon. If anything I'm saying is wrong, and someone can prove that to me, I'll change it. So please tell me.

This is my space to tell you what I think. If you disagree with it, please post a comment and say so. I can't tell if anyone is reading my blogs anymore, and I really want to know who's out there.