As they threatened to do, the folks at the High Plains Reader have put my ugly mug on the cover of their magazine this week. They did a pretty good job of it too even though the subject matter didn’t give them much to work with.
You can read the cover story here which is a profile of me written by Chris Hennen.
I hope what came through in the profile is how thankful I am to be able to produce this blog every day. It’s been eleven years now (I actually forgot to acknowledge the anniversary back in September), and still the desire to write and interact remains strong with in.
Which isn’t to say that everything has stayed the same. It probably became the most pronounced during this most recent election cycle, but SAB has really become a blog dedicated exclusively to North Dakota. I know some of the long-time readers from outside of North Dakota, who weren’t coming here for commentary and reporting about North Dakota, haven’t necessarily been pleased with the change but I explain why I did it in the story:
“I began to get the idea that there are thousands and thousands of people writing and producing content about national issues, but there are a lot fewer people writing about local issues here in North Dakota, so I shifted in focus. I started focusing a lot more on North Dakota politics, and the audience for that just kind of took off. It was filling a niche that wasn’t being served. Maybe some alternative viewpoints, conservative viewpoints that weren’t necessarily being served in North Dakota,” Port told HPR.
I’ve been pleased with the results. I began the shift in about 2008, and it cost me traffic as national readers drifted away. But they were quickly replaced by North Dakota readers, never more so than in 2014.
About 75 – 80 percent of SAB’s readers are North Dakotans these days, and I’m very proud of that. I’m not sure the blog has ever had a larger impact than it did right here in North Dakota during the 2014 election year. I’m very proud of that as well.
It was a very, very good year. And, of course, I have you folks to thank for it.
If it weren’t you readers and commenters, SAB wouldn’t be possible. Some of you come here just to trash me, because I’m often the originator of unpopular thoughts and information. That’s ok. Many more of you come here to be discuss and debate and generally be more informed than if you hadn’t stopped by.
And that’s what I’m the most proud of.
Hennen ended the article with this quote from our interview:
“North Dakota is my home. North Dakota is what I care about. North Dakota is what I like to write about. I am endlessly fascinated by this state. I love the people, I even love the weather. I love everything about North Dakota, and I don’t ever really want to leave,” Port replied. “This is my home and I am very, very lucky to be able to make a living from writing and informing people about politics and state government here. I hope that I can keep doing it my whole life.”
As long he continues to do so, he will no doubt have a role in shaking up the North Dakota political scene.
Many people in the media business look down on North Dakota. This is not a place for them to make a career, they seem to think. Rather, it’s a stepping stone for something better. Or it’s fodder for a feature piece for national media about what a bunch of insular, backward people we are.
But I love it here. I love North Dakota, and I love living in Minot. I’ve had offers to move away, to another part of the state or even out of state to cover another part of the country, but they don’t interest me. This is where I belong, and this is where I hope to stay.
Just as I hope you all keep coming back, as you have year after year.