My ears still haven't popped (nor my lungs cleared) after 24 travel hours and four days in the air-conditioned Xanadu of downtown Miami--but my brain is popping with ideas. Together with Boise Weekly Publisher Sally Freeman and Ad Director Brad Hoyd, I was in the Magic City for the national Association of Alternative Newsmedia conference. There we met with fellow journos and journo tech vendors to compare notes and kvetch about our industry.

As anyone with a passing familiarity with the business of journalism well knows, we're in a state of unprecedented flux. The shorthand theme of the conference could have been: "What the F--- Do We Do with the Internet?"

There are innumerable strategies and products out there to aid alternative weeklies in navigating the digital shoals, but when my fellow editors and I were alone in a room, we all admitted to knowing what's really going to "save" journalism: grab-you-by-the-face writing.

You'll find just that with a stunning piece of investigative journalism by News Editor George Prentice which peels back the layers of bureaucracy to reveal the heartbreaking story of an Idaho family that has been trying for two years to find out just what happened to their 19-year-old daughter, an Air Force security officer who was found dead of a gunshot wound in a bathroom at Guam's Andersen Air Force Base. Despite countless phone calls, the family has met with silence from the government.

News junkies might have heard the bare bones of this story in recent weeks, after it was reported by the Associated Press; but BW has been tracking down sources for a month, and now we're delving into the details.

It's the kind of in-depth reporting that only papers like BW are capable of. But that kind of work takes time and money--precious commodities, indeed.

That's why we're taking this opportunity to unveil the Boise Weekly Watchdogs. If you like stories like the one we're featuring this week, you can donate directly to those efforts with gifts of $1 per week for 52 weeks, $22 in recognition of BW's 22nd birthday this year, or just $1 a month for 12 months.

Money from the Watchdogs will go directly to defraying costs associated with long-form reporting. Help us dig. Learn more at

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