HOW DO YOU SEE YOUR ROLE AS THE NEW OWNER OF THE BLOG IN RELATION TO YOUR WORK WITH THE NATIONAL EDUCATION ASSOCIATION RHODE ISLAND (NEARI)? IS THERE A NEED TO DETERMINE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN "BLOG TIME" AND "NEA TIME"?
While the issues I face at both jobs overlap, there is a thick wall between my two jobs. The idea that either of these jobs requires a time clock, and [that] you can punch in to one job after punching out from another, just misses the way 21st century jobs operate. I am sure some people will try to criticize the arrangement, but those are mostly the same people who either don't like my writing or my day job anyway. The far right-wing in this state LOVE to criticize everything, but I am now a small business owner as well as a "left-wing nut job." So does that mean I get to be part of the club?
The following responses are from Jerzyk, who credits the blog's success to how RI's Future provided news and commentary faster than traditional "old" media; how it made it easy for readers to comment, so that they could be part of the debate (there are now more than 1100 registered users); and how it maintained a focus on local news amid old-media cutbacks.
WHAT WILL BE YOUR CONTINUED ROLE WITH THE BLOG AFTER THE SALE?
I plan on continue to blog on RIFuture.org, but much less. They say that politics is an addiction and that seems likely to be true. But, I have been given a great opportunity to work with some of the best trial lawyers around at DeLuca & Weizenbaum, and I am excited about building my legal career with them. And, I am excited about spending more time with my beautiful wife, Suzanne, and my two children, Diego and Colin.
On RIFuture.org, I will continue to offer my opinions, but, additionally, I am also going to be working with a local Southeast Asian youth group — PrYSM — on helping their youth leaders understand how to use the new media to develop their message and to strengthen their organization. Through this project, it is my hope that you will start to see more youth voices begin their blogging careers at RIFuture.org, and for Rhode Islanders and the nation to more fully understand the circumstances by which Southeast Asians came to the United States and the hurdles they are currently facing in the education, immigration, and criminal justice systems. In addition, I look forward to starting a new blog on legal issues.
HOW DO YOU LOOK BACK AT WHAT THE BLOG ACCOMPLISHED UNDER YOUR LEADERSHIP?
When RIFuture.org first came online . . . . I never imagined it would grow to such heights. I remember thinking that I wanted to build a Daily Kos blog for Rhode Island: an online news source that could build a progressive media to compete with the vast right-wing talk radio operation. And I think we have accomplished that.
I think the blog has become a tremendous success because of the community we have created. With tens of thousands of readers and over a dozen writers, we are not only debating important political issues, we have also provided an online clearinghouse for people to get involved in the political system, from the 2006 US Senate race to the Rhode Island for Obama campaign in 2008 . . . . We are also pushing people to walk the walk because, at the end of the day, a healthy democracy requires people to engage it: by holding elected officials accountable or going to city or town council meetings or running for office directly.