Randy Stapilus 

Randy Stapilus is much more than a blogger (a fancy term for someone who publishes his or her own Web site filled with commentary, news, opinion and, in some cases, the local weather forecast). With a skeleton staff, Stapilus runs the northwest printers Ridenbaugh Press, publishers of his own brand of commentary on the political goings-on in Idaho, Oregon and Washington. He's also published several books, pens a monthly public affairs document to forecast the political climate in the Pacific Northwest and, of course, there's the blog, Ridenbaugh.com

BW: How long have you had the site and been blogging?

RS: Three years, but in a loose sense, it's closer to 10. Ridenbaugh Press got started as a book publishing company to publish [Stapilus' first book] Paradox Politics, about Idaho politics. Since then, it's expanded to include the Web activities.

Is there a network or community of Idaho bloggers? What about in other states?

There's not really a community that I know of. There are some attempts to put together a portal Web site to collect bloggers in other states, but I'm not aware of any in Idaho.

Do you have an idea of what to write about each day, or do you get fired up after reading the daily news?

It varies. Sometimes something comes up in the news that specifically provokes me to follow. Or sometimes I also do general research related to public affairs to Idaho, voter activity research and others.

What do you want to accomplish with your blog? Is it to vent political frustrations, is it to continue writing or is it just for fun?

It's a little more professional in this case. It's intended to be a side project to the other things we've been working with on the public affairs documents and some of the election research we're doing. It's a mix.

As a former newspaper editor and reporter, what leads a newspaperman into blogging?

I've been writing a number of books, and had other projects over time, so it's been a variety of things. I would say this is a different way of looking at what's going on in Idaho and the Northwest. It's a different medium but it's talking about some of the same things.

Do you think blogs are looked at as more or less credible than other news sources? Do you think that will change?

I think up to this point, blogs have been lumped into one category. That's going to change as people become more aware of the different types of blogs. It's the same as if all newsprint publications, like the Idaho Statesman, the New York Times, the Thrifty Nickel and the National Enquirer were put in the same category. There are a number of reporters who do blogs. So I think the variety in blogs and the differences in what they try to do is something that will gradually come out over time.

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