Not a DD..just some notes

Hi there! Instead of keeping up the Daily Drip while I burn off my vacation days, I want to lift the veil a little and share with you, who care enough to click on that link, a few things.  This site…johnericksonnews.com…is something I’m experimenting with for different purposes, both present and future. For now, it’s a way for people to link to the Drip more cleanly on their own web pages, than they can to Facebook, with all of its mysterious algorithms and creepy mind-reading ad content. And it’s a way for me to fiddle with the mechanics of keeping up a website, without the Internet-for-Dummies interface that Facebook employs.

This is also a platform for that day in the future when all of my time is my own. There’s no rush on that. I’m in no hurry to leave the best job in radio.  But when I’m not marching to the beat of morning drivetime, I still intend to keep in touch with the community we’ve formed on the Daily Drip, and to continue that as a platform for service and a source of fulfillment for a long time to come. It will, in fact, expand. There may be daily news-and-comment podcasts, there may be special projects and editorials and creativity beyond what we’re able to do while tethered to the news of any particular day. There will be surprises.
For now, johnericksonnews.com will primarily mirror the Daily Drip as it appears on Facebook, along with sporadic personal musings like this one. I expect the DD will continue on Facebook indefinitely, because the interactivity is what makes it so dynamic, especially in breaking news and weather situations, and for times when we as a community need to gather to share our joy or angst. So please don’t read any kind of diminishment into this. The DD on Facebook is an unexpected phenomenon, and I’m being literal and truthful when I say it’s because of you.
The DD’s a bit of work, but I’ve orchestrated a schedule that makes it doable. Despite its beginnings as a quickie news blurb, it’s no longer written on the fly at 3 AM.  Here are the steps:
–Every weekend, usually with a game on TV, I sketch out the week in advance, as a draft document in Gmail.  I build a grid with just a few lines, starting like this, pasted from what I’ve already done for next week:
**
Monday, October 30, 2017
Sunrise 7:48 AM, sunset 6:00 PM.
Happy birthday to The Fonz himself, Henry Winkler, who turns a young 72. A year ago I spent 10 minutes on the phone with him, to plug an appearance at a local school for kids with dyslexia, which Henry himself has battled and overcome his entire life. Told him about Blazer PBP king Bill Schonely being nicknamed “the Schnonz” at the height of the popularity of The Fonz, and Winkler was full of glee at that. Extends Bill his best wishes.
On this day in 1938, “The War of the Worlds” aired on CBS and touched off a panicked reaction to the arrival of killer aliens. Fake news.
************************************************************************
Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Sunrise 7:49 AM, sunset 5:58 PM
Halloween.
500th anniversary of Martin Luther pounding his 95 theses on the church door in Wittenburg, Germany, creating Protestantism by denouncing the ability of people to buy forgiveness, which was apparently possible then under the Catholic church.
************************************************************************
Wednesday, November 1, 2017
Sunrise 7:50 AM, sunset 5:57 PM. We have now reached the latest sunrises of the year, which sounds weird but is true. I’ll explain on Friday.
Check Portland City Council agenda
Check Music History
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And so on. That’s the starting point. From there, during my weekend prep, I add items from a futures file I keep; events in local history from a list I’m constantly building, birthdays of local notables, items from the NY Times and BBC today-in-history pages, music history landmarks from a couple of sites. Then I prowl the websites of local concert venues for anything interesting coming up…I check the agendas for local government agencies…things like that.  I look for things that interest me and might interest you, and often dive deeply, searching for insights and little-known-facts, like “Why did Helen Reddy write ‘I Am Woman’? ” the other day. I try to have something to say. And through this, I end up with a starting point for each day of the coming week.
Then every afternoon, using that grid, after my siesta from 1 to 3 and before my walk from 5 to 6:30, I power-write a draft of the next morning’s DD. I pound through dozens of websites searching for interesting, important, funny, and uplifting stories, scan a bunch of weather sites, and come up with a 10-story rundown that I flesh into words. That’s the first draft. I go out and walk 3 to 5 miles, usually with NPR podcasts in my ear.
I come back. I pour an IPA, and while dinner’s in the oven, I zip through the evening local TV news (though I already know most of what they’re doing from tweets by reporters). Then the fun part: coloring in the stories I’ve already written with whatever punditry and wisecrackery the local muse may bring. Add some personal writing style. Sometimes it’s there, sometimes not. That’s the second draft.
Until this summer, I’d do a third draft just before bed, staying up past 9:30 to add a further layer of creative touches. That’s when I wound up with pneumonia. Now I slam the laptop shut at dinnertime, which is hard, because I’ve developed a writing addiction.
So then I get up at 3 AM, and spend 45 minutes slurping coffee and blueberry smoothy with my faithful puppy Silver at my feet, doing another crash run through all of the news sites, adding overnight developments that sometimes cause me to do a major rewrite. Generally what happens is I’ll add a few national stories and night-shift local breakers, then go through the draft and weed out anything that seemed funny or interesting when I wrote it, but lands with a thud when seen with fresh eyes. I proofread for errors, always always missing some, then copy the whole thing from Gmail and post it on Facebook and also, now, johnericksonnews.com.
I post it at 4 AM and go to work; I don’t see it again until after 5, and by then, lots of people have read it and reacted, so I get a feel for how it’s landing, and if I’ve made any grievous typographical or factual errors. I don’t have the kind of Facebook page that tells you how many people are reading it, but I can make a relative judgment through responses, the total of likes, hearts, smilies, or frowns. We’ve grown to the point where if  there are 500 by the end of the day. I feel like I’ve done a pretty effective report. If not, then not.
There’s more I want to say, while the veil is lifted, but we’ll do that on another occasion. Thanks for reading; feel free to react on Facebook, under the link.

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