The purpose of establishing the Philomath News from Day 1 has always been to provide local coverage of our community. Features on our local events, stories about our residents, coverage of our school, reports on our city government and advertising from our businesses will always be the priority.
A few months ago, I added state news to the website through Oregon Capital Chronicle coverage. This type of news is beyond my capabilities but there are a lot of important stories out there that do impact us as Oregonians. The Capital Chronicle is a nonprofit news organization that makes its journalism available to outlets like the Philomath News to be republished. I don’t publish everything they write but will take the time to upload one to three stories most days.
A couple of weeks ago, I added another type of feature to the website through Stacker, a news organization that produces “data journalism.”
What exactly is data journalism?
“Each story begins with analysis of public and private datasets around newsworthy topics to help understand current events,” Stacker describes on its site. “From there, our editorial team brings the data to life — weaving in rich insights and crucial context to produce engaging stories ranging from rankings and lists to quizzes and visualizations.”
On top of this work, they localize the content to specific regions of the country and Corvallis is among their identified “metro” areas. So I keep an eye on those stories as well as just the Oregon data collections in general. But if something catches my eye and I think people would be interested, I might republish something that has nothing really to do with Oregon (for example, I’m a movie buff, so I uploaded Stacker’s “100 best movies of all time” — shocked that the newspaper classic “Citizen Kane” was not No. 1).
If you haven’t noticed this content on the home page or in the newsletter, here are a few recent posts that I’ve uploaded:
• Closest national parks to Philomath area: Now Stacker wrote this as closest national parks to Corvallis, but hey, that’s close enough.
• Grocery items with the greatest price change in March: Not really local, but certainly a topic that’s on a lot of our minds right now.
• States sending the most people to Oregon: What would your guess be? California?
• Counties with the highest COVID-19 vaccination rate in Oregon: And yeah, Benton County ranks pretty high.
That’s just a sampling. Here’s a link to the page where you can find all of the Stacker stories I’ve posted.
One of my favorite series of books to read when I was a kid were the “Book of Lists” volumes published by David Wallechinsky and others. That was a hard-copy form of data journalism long before the internet. These Stacker stories remind me of the “Book of Lists.” The organization offers partnerships with news sites like mine to publish their work. I had a Zoom call with them to iron out the particulars and started posting.
A few other recent additions include poems by Kevin Ahern, a retired Oregon State professor who writes funny verses. In fact, that’s what I’m calling it — “Verses.” Ahern has a pretty good following with his poems published in various places (for a time in the Corvallis Gazette-Times) and a book entitled “Kevin Ahern’s 1001 Punniest Limericks.” He also makes appearances at poetry events in Corvallis.
Scroll down the home page to find his latest offerings.
And finally, I’ve also been publishing “Philomath in Photos” — a gallery of images that just illustrate the lives we live here in the community. I’ve shot most of them myself although one of my regular columnists, Eric Niemann, sends me pictures from time to time. I’m hoping that eventually, people from the community will send me their photos to be included in the gallery. I wish someone would’ve sent me something from the recent April snow shower — not something we see every spring.
If you want to send me a photo to be considered for the gallery, email me.
(Brad Fuqua is publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He can be reached at News@PhilomathNews.com).