NPI's Cascadia Adovcate
NPI's Cascadia Adovcate

Today is a very spe­cial day in the his­to­ry of NPI’s Cas­ca­dia Advocate. 

Today, this blog — the pri­ma­ry medi­um through which we at the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute share our per­spec­tive on pol­i­tics and cur­rent events — turns twen­ty years old. 

It’s a huge mile­stone for a pub­li­ca­tion that began in the “infor­ma­tion super­high­way” era. In the last two decades, a great many online-only media out­lets have come and gone, includ­ing the major­i­ty of the sites on the blogroll that we cre­at­ed for The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate in its first two years of oper­a­tion. Local sites pre­sent­ing oppo­si­tion per­spec­tives — like Sound Pol­i­tics and Orbus­max — are long gone as well. 

But The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate is still here. Still going strong. Still pro­vid­ing thought­ful com­men­tary and analy­sis of goings-on in our region, our coun­try, and our world.

And that’s important. 

In an age of ram­pant mis­in­for­ma­tion and dis­in­for­ma­tion, and an age where good jour­nal­ism is get­ting hard­er to find as news­pa­pers dis­ap­pear and state and local polit­i­cal cov­er­age with­ers away, it’s essen­tial that the trust­wor­thy sources of infor­ma­tion we’ve still got remain avail­able and remain going con­cerns. Essential. 

Our region needs both out­lets com­mit­ted to the objec­tiv­i­ty tra­di­tion — such as The Seat­tle Times or the recent­ly formed Wash­ing­ton State Stan­dard — and out­lets com­mit­ted to the advo­ca­cy jour­nal­ism tra­di­tion, such as The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate or The Cen­ter Square (which is right wing, but which attempts to adhere to basic tenets of good jour­nal­ism like we do.) A healthy media ecosys­tem with a mix of dif­fer­ent out­lets that val­ue the truth and prac­tice respect and tol­er­ance for oth­ers is crit­i­cal to democ­ra­cy’s future. 

We have always pub­lished com­men­tary here on The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate and I can’t imag­ine that ever chang­ing. Advo­ca­cy is in our very name; our bias is inher­ent in every­thing we pub­lish. That’s inten­tion­al. Our val­ues and prin­ci­ples and pol­i­cy direc­tions are not a secret… we’re upfront about what we believe and what our agen­da is. But what sets our com­men­tary apart from what can be found in so many oth­er cor­ners of the Inter­net is its thought­ful­ness. A lot of care goes into what we pub­lish here. 

That’s espe­cial­ly true of the news we break our­selves when we report on our research. 

Our advo­ca­cy may be total­ly sub­jec­tive, but the research that pow­ers it (which we often present here in the form of poll find­ings) comes from neu­tral ques­tions asked of rep­re­sen­ta­tive sam­ples. We know, as expe­ri­enced and skilled researchers, that you can’t find out what peo­ple think if you’ve told them what to think first. So we avoid that. We’re stick­lers for the sci­en­tif­ic method and that’s evi­dent in the poll find­ings we publish.

It’s become a tra­di­tion at the end of each year for us to look back at the most pop­u­lar posts we pub­lished that year. Poll find­ings con­cern­ing upcom­ing elec­tions have often topped those lists, reflect­ing the wide­spread inter­est in our elec­toral polling, but also beloved by our read­ers are our reviews of books and doc­u­men­tary films. Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate fans can be assured that we have plans to keep bring­ing you more poll find­ings and reviews as we enter our third decade. We also plan to increase our cov­er­age of under­re­port­ed down­bal­lot races and bring you more labor-focused journalism.

Addi­tion­al­ly, our dis­tin­guished lega­cy of live event cov­er­age will con­tin­ue. In our first twen­ty years, we live­blogged con­gres­sion­al town halls, Fed­er­al Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mis­sion hear­ings, nation­al con­ven­tions, pres­i­den­tial and guber­na­to­r­i­al inau­gu­ra­tions, and con­fer­ences such as Net­roots Nation. You can expect more such cov­er­age here.

I still vivid­ly remem­ber mar­veling at the flood of vis­i­tors who showed up when Talk­ing Points Memo linked to our March 2005 report of the only in-per­son town hall that for­mer Con­gress­man and now guber­na­to­r­i­al hope­ful Dave Reichert ever held, in Belle­vue, which pow­er­ful­ly demon­strat­ed the oppo­si­tion to pri­va­tiz­ing Social Security.

I also have fond mem­o­ries of tour­ing the USS Sten­nis with Sen­a­tor Maria Cantwell, fil­ing dis­patch­es from Char­lotte and Philadel­phia from the 2012 and 2016 Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tions for our read­ers back home, and par­tic­i­pat­ing in the inter­net strike against SOPA and PIPA, two bad fed­er­al bills that we joined a huge move­ment in help­ing defeat. 

Since March 29th, 2004, we’ve pub­lished over 10,000 posts in this space, authored by more than a hun­dred dif­fer­ent NPI staff, reg­u­lar con­trib­u­tors, and guest essay­ists. Our writ­ers range from folks in their eight­ies and sev­en­ties, like Lit­er­ary Advo­cate David Kobrin and colum­nist Joel Con­nel­ly, to folks in their teens, like Kamil Zai­di and Sub­ha Vad­la­man­nati from our staff. In recent years, our team has empha­sized lift­ing up the voic­es of women of col­or; you’ll find a col­lec­tion of essays writ­ten by folks like Shasti Con­rad and Erin Jones high­light­ed in The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate’s sidebar. 

We’ll be bring­ing you more of those, too.

If you’re a reg­u­lar read­er, you’ve prob­a­bly noticed the blog looks dif­fer­ent today… a lot dif­fer­ent. That’s because, in con­junc­tion with our twen­ti­eth anniver­sary, we’ve debuted a new theme for The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate that we’ve been devel­op­ing for the last few months. This new theme is mobile-friend­ly, uti­liz­ing the lat­est in respon­sive design prac­tices, and it is more image-cen­tric, mak­ing our pho­to­jour­nal­ism more acces­si­ble. This is the site’s fifth dis­tinct coat of paint, so to speak, and we’re proud of it. We hope you like it! We are open to sug­ges­tions on improv­ing it and will be con­tin­u­ing to refine it slight­ly in the weeks to come, so any con­struc­tive feed­back you have is grate­ful­ly appreciated. 

On behalf of our staff and board, I thank you for being a read­er of The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate. If you like what you see and you aren’t already a mem­ber, I hope you’ll con­sid­er becom­ing one. Our mem­bers sus­tain the good work we do and ensure that we have first-class web infra­struc­ture to serve this blog from. 

Mem­ber dues also allow us to pro­vide spe­cial fea­tures like Last Week In Con­gress, send our staff to cov­er nation­al polit­i­cal events, and com­mis­sion research polls. In the future, mem­ber dues may also help us award stipends to guest writ­ers! You can sign up to give month­ly or annu­al­ly right here. Anoth­er option, for those who don’t like ongo­ing com­mit­ments, is to make a one-time dona­tion.

Here’s to anoth­er twen­ty years of hap­py blogging! 

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

Adjacent posts

Leave a comment

By submitting a comment, you agree to abide by our Commenting Guidelines. If you submit any links to other websites in your comment or in the Website field, these will be published at our discretion. Please read our statement of Privacy Practices before commenting to understand how we collect and use submissions to the Cascadia Advocate. Your comment must be submitted with a name and email address as noted below. We will not publish or share your email address.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *