Up Front: July 2009

Clog in the blog

On April 27, Dan Gearino announced on his Web site that he was putting his two-year-old blog on hold “to concentrate on other, income-producing pursuits.” Among them: the cover story in this month’s issue (story). But to the woe of readers accustomed to catching his commentary on local and national events each weekday, the hiatus stretched into June, a span remarkable not only for its length but also its breadth of big news. Foremost among the stories that broke were revelations about our ex-governor and his wife that wags have dubbed Sleasleygate.

“More than once I found myself thinking, a la Lloyd Bridges in the movie Airplane!, ‘I picked a helluva time to quit blogging,’” Dan says. “I take a break, and suddenly every piece of news fruit is ripe and hanging low. Still, I comforted myself with the thought that the extra time allowed me to do things like take a big swan dive into unfamiliar waters, like open-source software, and hatch moneymaking schemes. Success on both fronts — with the bonus being that I can now throw around words like ‘binaries’ with a straight face.”

He still had an outlet for his views on the news: Fine Print, the column he has written for Business North Carolina since October 2007. He decided to tackle the topic of Mary Easley’s contract with N.C. State this month (story), turning in the piece just as the affair unraveled in a series of events that, in effect, decapitated the state’s largest university. What could have been fodder for a week’s worth of daily blogs turned into a nightmare of updating and rewriting something that for weeks wouldn’t see print.

“The Easley stuff was like being yanked back into my daily newspapering days,” says Dan, who spent three decades as a journalist before leaving The News & Observer, where he had been business editor and was, for 11 years, a columnist (while writing three of his four novels). “At one point, the story was surging dramatically by the hour, causing me to remember those many times when I’d finished a story for the next day’s paper only to learn something else had happened and I needed to start over again. It’s not often you handle breaking news for a monthly magazine.”

Still, he had this to say June 9 when he resumed his blog. “I’m not going to lie: I have thoroughly enjoyed not blogging for the past six weeks. ... What I realized is (a) I like doing this (with ‘this’ defined as exercising my writing muscles and staying engaged with the news); and (b) I don’t like the pressure that comes with posting something new every weekday. So my plan is to set a less arduous schedule for myself. I’ll post when I feel like it — a couple of times a week, probably. Maybe three. Maybe only once, or maybe not at all if the beach beckons and the rum hits high tide.”

You can find a link to Dan’s, uh, occasional blog at www.BusinessNC.com — and read his column regularly in the magazine each month.

Yes, we put a lot of emphasis on this industry. And you can bank on our continuing to do so.