John and Heather Aronno started their blog back in May, with a post-election look at the 2009 Anchorage mayoral race. They've become very active and quite vital in Anchorage and Southcentral Alaska's progressive movement. As well as blogging, they have resuscitated the Anchorage chapter of Drinking Liberally, they're pretty much running the local Young Democrats chapter, and they've gotten a Young Democrats group going on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus.
The blog features posts by both Heather and John. They're especially strong on issues involving Anchorage politics.
Best Arts Coverage: What Do I Know?
Steve's coverage of the Anchorage International Film Festival gets better every year. This is good, because Judy and I haven't been able to attend the festival itself yet, as it is scheduled when both of us are working 80-hour weeks at the end of the fall school term. He covers other arts events fairly regularly, too, particularly at Out North Theater.
Best Investigative Reporting: Henkimaa and Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis
Mel's six articles about the patently false meme invented by Sarah Palin that claimed (and still does?) that the state of Alaska spent "two million dollars" investigating false accusations against her, were devastating. Even though Anchorage Daily News writer Sean Cockerham wanted to write more about this, he was prevented from following up by the paper's management, in what may be the most cowardly of many cowardly acts of 2009 by ADN management. Mel observed Friday, regarding the ADN's downplaying of the story and relegation of Cockerham to poliblog limbo:
Cockerham’s story (posted, as far as I know, only on the ADN’s Politics blog, but not as a full-fledged ADN story) said that Perez was going to follow up on further questions he’d brought up — I’ve seen no sign that she ever did, or that ADN itself cared.
Mel also did other investigative work during 2009, particularly on LBGTQ issues, the long saga of Anchorage Ordinance #64, and - as Mel so effectively calls it - The Icredibly True Adventures of Rev. Jerry Prevo.
Linda Kellen Beigel's continuing efforts to look into the ways Sarah Palin manipulated state resources to benefit herself personally or politically wound their way through the year. I'm one who believes that the efforts of Linda, Andree McLeod and Frank Gwartney, when put together, are what forced the climate of awareness that led to Palin's abdication. It isn't necessarily going to come out in the wash soon, but ultimately we'll probably find out that in June Palin was advised that in order to remain governor, she would have to end, refund or reconstitute her legal fund trust, and that she would have to come up with a deferred payments arrangement for her contract with Harper-Collins. Had it not ben for questions that were raised over a host of issues by Linda, Andree and Frank, I doubt our Alaska mainstream media would have touched upon any of this.
As it stands, bloggers like Mel Green, Linda Kellen Biegel and others have better served the interests of truth, and the fight against abuses in our political system in 2009, than did our Alaska mainstream outlets.
Best Road Trip: Shannyn Moore's and Jeanne Devon's trip to Netroots Nation, to Harvard's Kennedy School of Government Berkman Center for Internet and Society, and to the NYC HQ of MSNBC.
At Netroots Nation, Shannyn Moore was awarded the 2009 Steve Gilliard Award, for her work communicating the truth about Sarah Palin, and for taking flack as a citizen activist.
At the Berkman Center, Moore and AKM gave a talk on "the relationship between bloggers and the mainstream media, the important political issues of the day in Alaska and how the powerful internet community of Alaska blog readers is becoming a real force for change. We talked about the 2008 election, about Sarah Palin and Ted Stevens, about fish issues in Western Alaska, ethics complaints, and a certain…(cough cough) … legislator who outed a certain blogger using state time and resources."
In New York City, Moore and AKM visited MSNBC Headquarters, where Moore was a live, in-studio guest on the Keith Olbermann Show.
The national attention brought to Shannyn Moore and to AKM's blog, The Mudflats this past year is unprecedented in Alaska communications history. During this year, Moore has bounced back from what many, including PA, regarded as ill treatment at KUDO Radio in 2008.
Instead of sulking, Moore now has a weekly radio show on KBYR and a weekly TV show on KYES. The radio show probably boasts the largest internet-based audience for a regular Alaska production in state history. Her TV show, that centers around a new panel of newsmakers, local personalities, journalists and others, each week, shows remarkable growth potential. Moore's continuing appearances on MSNBC TV and several progressive national radio programs is helping to get the word out to the rest of the country that Alaska has articulate, witty and courageous representatives from the left, who are trying to help wake up this country and state.
Jeanne Devon's award by the watchdog group, Cook Inletkeeper, of their 2009 Alaska Muckraker of the Year, showed that both Moore and Devon are being recognized by important organizations for going beyond where our traditional media here has been able to go.
The writing at The Mudflats and at Just a Girl from Homer is consistently on a high level, as shown by the following both AKM and Shannyn have gained in 2009 at Huffington Post, for instance.
Best Coverage of Levi Johnston: The Immoral Minority
Without a doubt, Jesse Griffin has covered the Johnston kid's oddysey better than the rest of the Alaska-based progressive blogs. Jesse, like Linda Kellen Beigel and Shannyn Moore, became the target of spiteful, unprofessional attacks by Palin advocates, for stories Jesse ran. And is continuing to run.
I was turned off by Jesse's Hawaii pictures that attempted to show Palin in very unflattering terms, particularly of the backs of her thighs. Of course Palin isn't the runner she once was, but the series of pictures bothered me far more than did the pictures elsewhere that featured various peoples' heads morphed onto Trig Palin's body.
Most Courageous Alaska Progressive Blogger: Ann Strongheart of Anonymous Bloggers
Ann underwent a devastating tragedy, when her young husband Segundo died in August. She is continuing to blog from Western Alaska, concentrating on bringing problems and joys in rural Alaska to statewide, national and global attention.
Best Community Efforts by Alaska's Progressive Bloggers:
One: The Midwinter Food and Fuel Crisis on the Lower Yukon: We raised thousands of dollars in relief, and paid Dennis Zaki's way to Emmonak, when no real news outlet thought the story warranted attention. We'll never know whether or not the state ratcheted up their response to the crisis because of our work, but I suspect they did.
Two: The WAR Battle: Short version - WE WON! Ross was certainly no help to himself, as he blathered on in Juneau about his quaint views on the law, on lima beans and so on, but Alaska's progressive bloggers rode herd on the situation, encouraging hundreds of constituents to contact their legislators.
Three: The Yukon Flooding: The Mudflats, more than any other Alaska blog, brought attention to the flooding in Eagle, and elsewhere, and helped organize relief efforts to communities on the river.
Four: Anchorage Ordinace #64: Short version - WE LOST! But we were there in solidarity. All the Anchorage-based lefty bloggers were there, some for every hearing. The most outstanding coverage was by Bent Alaska, Henkimaa and The Alaska Commons. Our community learned a lot from the battle, and we'll be there next time, better prepared to help force this important set of civil rights issues into the 21st century.
Update - 7:00 p.m: I just got an email from a friend, asking why The Alaska Dispatch isn't mentioned in this article. After all, they don't have a print edition, and people comment on articles there. The Dispatch could be compared to The Huffington Post, for instance. And some of the articles at the Dispatch are written from a fairly progressive tone, although it certainly doesn't claim to be "progressive."
I've both praised and criticized some articles from the Dispatch, as I have content from the ADN, KTUU, and APRN.
The reason the Alaska Dispatch is viewed with very skeptical eyes from Progressive Alaska is this:That's David Rubenstein, one of the most disgusting people taking up space on the planet Earth.
His wife bankrolls the Alaska Dispatch. I understand that she is rather nice. She couldn't possibly be nice enough to counter-balance the insidious creepiness of her husband, though. The guy is perhaps the sleaziest merchant of death since I.G. Farben. He's certainly been responsible for far more deaths of innocents than Union Carbide in Bhopal, but possibly not as many as the people who came up with destroying the Mekong Delta aquifer and ecosystem for 150 years with Agent Orange. If you google Carlyle Group and criminal acts, there are 17,500 items there.
People die every fucking hour of every fucking day because of the schemes and scams of the family bankrolling the Alaska Dispatch.
So, Tony, Mia, Scott, Jill, Rena, Josh, Craig, Stephen, Amanda,
Update Two: Apparently Seth left when he investigated where the $$$ comes from.
images - John & Heather, Mel's pie chart; Brian & Gov. Howard Dean