When I first started this blog, I wondered if there would be anything to write about. As it turns out, that has not been a problem and this post marks number 2,000. Actually, there have been more than that, but as those of you who read this blog during its early stages will recall, for a long time I did not have a separate headline for each post, electing to just use asterisks between them. That makes it hard to find some of the early posts on some major topics that we are still discussing.
I suppose I should reflect on what the major accomplishments of this blog have been. I don't know if there have been any, but here goes:
-Because of this blog, the traditional media have covered some stories that in the past would have remain uncovered, especially in the areas of courts and business.
-The blog has served as a place where print and broadcast media sources can be criticized and praised. Viewer feedback on those critiques has also provided a snapshot of how people feel about their local news sources.
-The Turner Report was emphasizing the devil's dance between lobbyists and lawmakers long before the Jack Abramoff scandal hit. Though the Joplin Globe and Springfield News-Leader have touched on the topic, these traditional news sources need to dig deeper. Hopefully, with the situation in Washington, we can begin examining the influence lobbyists have in Jefferson City, as well.
-Campaign contributions, including those given by lobbyists and other special interests have been a regular focus. They do not indicate necessarily that a politician is on the take, but armed with this kind of information voters can make more informed judgments on their elected officials.
-The business dealings of companies have been examined more closely than they would have been in the past. The primary example, of course, is the situation at O'Sullivan Industries in Lamar which has been covered extensively in this blog since million-dollar CEO Bob Parker and the Newell Rubbermaid cabal took the reins. The blog's focus has also been put on other companies including Nexstar Broadcasting, Leggett & Platt, La-Z-Boy, and Precious Moments that have a major impact on the area's economy.
-The blog has been able to focus attention on articles from newspapers and websites across the United States that pertain to this area.
-Personally, the blog has enabled me to be one of the few people who do investigative reporting as a hobby. I enjoyed it when I was doing it for a living, I still enjoy it, and newspapers and broadcast media need to be doing a lot more of it.
-I also have been able to keep my promise to my students that if they had to write everyday (and they do), that I would do the same.
-The Turner Report has also helped me make a profit from my novel, "Small Town News," and to make plans for writing a second book.
Some predictions for the future:
-I expect to continue chronicling the ongoing newspaper battle in Joplin, which will have another entrant in April when the Joplin/Tri-State Business Journal arrives on the scene.
-I have a few plans for more in-depth coverage of the broadcast media than I have done in the past.
-The blog will continue to explore the insidious effects of lobbyists and special interests on state and national politics.
-One last prediction: Taking into account the large staff of the Joplin Globe, the smaller, but hard-working staff of the Joplin Daily, the staff of the Business Journal, and that of any other news source that pops up in 2006...when all is said and done, The Turner Report will break as many big stories as any of them...and I will smile as those stories then appear in other media with no mention of the blog that originated them.
Thanks to the readers of the blog, which depending on which of the meters I use, have been ranging between 450 and 700 a day on weekdays for the past several weeks (it was around 35 to 50 as recently as December 2004).
Now I'm going to look for post number 2,001.