Wel­come to the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute’s Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate, the voice of the Pacif­ic Northwest’s most region­al­ly-ori­ent­ed pro­gres­sive organization.

Launched on March 29th, 2004, The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate is a long form blog offer­ing com­men­tary on world, nation­al, and espe­cial­ly region­al and state pol­i­tics, pro­vid­ing an uncon­ven­tion­al per­spec­tive from NPI’s staff, board, and contributors.

For a longer expla­na­tion of what The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate is, here’s a set of answers we’ve put togeth­er to answer fre­quent­ly asked ques­tions we’ve received over the years about the nature and his­to­ry of the pub­li­ca­tion. Enjoy!

What’s a blog, anyway?

A blog (short for weblog) is an online jour­nal, in some ways sim­i­lar to a per­son­al diary, except that blogs may be (and often are) col­lab­o­ra­tive­ly writ­ten and edit­ed by more than one per­son. Entries in a blog typ­i­cal­ly appear in reverse chrono­log­i­cal order, so that the newest posts may eas­i­ly be found at the top.

What does long-form mean? 

It means entries are at least a few hun­dred words or longer. Many blogs con­sist of short takes or asides. But not Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate entries. What’s pub­lished here is much longer than a tweet, a typ­i­cal Face­book post, or a cap­tion attached to an image on Insta­gram — and char­ac­ter­ized by con­text and substance.

“Like a lot of things in the con­tent world, the idea of long-form comes from jour­nal­ism,” Julia McCoy explained in a 2021 piece for Express Writ­ers. “There, it referred to a sto­ry that ran over the typ­i­cal length – about five hun­dred words (or about four­teen to six­teen inch­es depend­ing on the paper’s formatting).”

Are blogs less cred­i­ble than old­er, more estab­lished forms of mass com­mu­ni­ca­tion, like news­pa­pers, tele­vi­sion, and radio?

No. A blog is mere­ly a means of com­mu­ni­cat­ing, just like a news­pa­per or television/radio broad­cast. The only real dif­fer­ence is that blogs — at least those that fos­ter an exchange of ideas by allow­ing respons­es — are more democratic.

A blog should nev­er be judged more or less cred­i­ble than anoth­er media out­let sim­ply because it is a blog. Blogs may be writ­ten by jour­nal­ists who have been pro­fes­sion­al­ly trained as reporters (this is not uncom­mon, espe­cial­ly now that many large news­rooms have been dis­man­tled), or activists who have become advo­ca­cy jour­nal­ists by prac­tice, or any­body who wants to share some­thing with the world. A blog’s cred­i­bil­i­ty should be judged by its con­tent, the care with which that con­tent was assem­bled (or lack there­of) and the con­duct of its writ­ers.

Why do posts on The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate seem opinionated?

Because they are!

As the name sug­gests, The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate is a sub­jec­tive (rather than objec­tive) pub­li­ca­tion, not unlike a news­pa­per edi­to­r­i­al page.

We believe bias is inher­ent in writ­ing; no pub­li­ca­tion or arti­cle is tru­ly bias-free. We pre­fer to be upfront about our point of view so our read­ers know where we stand, rather than pre­tend­ing that we have no agenda.

This does not mean we do not prac­tice jour­nal­ism, how­ev­er. While much of what we write is by nature com­men­tary, we also report break­ing news and pro­vide live cov­er­age of events. Because our per­spec­tive is inter­wo­ven into the news­gath­er­ing that we do, we con­sid­er our report­ing to be advo­ca­cy jour­nal­ism.

What do terms like perma­link and tag cloud mean?

Like oth­er mass media, the blo­gos­phere has its own unique lin­go or par­lance. Here are sim­ple def­i­n­i­tions for many of the most com­mon terms found on a blog.

  • Entry or Post: An arti­cle con­tributed by one of the blog’s authors. Also known as a sto­ry. Entries are some­times incor­rect­ly referred to as blogs, espe­cial­ly by peo­ple new to the medi­um. The term blog is equiv­a­lent to news­pa­per; the terms post and entry are equiv­a­lent to col­umn or story.
  • Diary: A post con­tributed by a read­er or com­mu­ni­ty mem­ber. On sites such as Dai­ly Kos, diaries that receive the most votes, or rec­om­men­da­tions, are fea­tured more promi­nent­ly and receive wider exposure.
  • Response: A reac­tion to a post or diary. Most respons­es are com­ments left by read­ers, but respons­es can also include linkbacks — auto­mat­ic noti­fi­ca­tions sent by oth­er blogs that link to a reac­tion pub­lished at anoth­er blog. There are three types of linkbacks, which appear the same to users but dif­fer tech­ni­cal­ly: ref­backs, ping­backs, and track­backs. Addi­tion­al­ly, two host­ed blog­ging sys­tems allow authors to enable fea­tures sim­i­lar to linkbacks: Blogger’s back­links and Tumblr’s reblog­ging function.
  • Perma­link: The web address of a spe­cif­ic post or response to a post. It’s a port­man­teau of “per­ma­nent link”. Perma­links are use­ful because they allow a read­er to direct­ly access a par­tic­u­lar post rather than hav­ing to search for the con­tent they want from the blog’s home page. With­in The Advo­cate, perma­links are rep­re­sent­ed by the numer­i­cal sym­bol (#) which pre­cedes the name of the author below the body of posts and responses.
  • Cat­e­go­ry: A cat­e­go­ry is a top­ic that we address as part of the cov­er­age we pro­vide through The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate. Exam­ples of top­ics include Eco­nom­ic Secu­ri­ty, World Com­mu­ni­ty, Health­care, and Nation­al Defense.
  • Tag: While cat­e­gories are broad group­ings of posts by top­ic, tags are a way to cre­ate more spe­cif­ic group­ings of posts. For exam­ple, we have a cat­e­go­ry called Elec­tions, and we have tags cor­re­spond­ing to any con­gres­sion­al dis­tricts we write about, like WA-01, ID-02, or OR-05.

How did The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate get its name?

From a nam­ing con­test held between March 29th, 2008, and April 12th, 2008.

Pri­or to the unveil­ing of the win­ning entry, sub­mit­ted by read­er “JY” of Seat­tle, The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate was sim­ply known as the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute’s offi­cial blog. The new name was cho­sen because it reflects our mis­sion, our net­roots her­itage, and advo­ca­cy journalism.

What oth­er pub­li­ca­tions go by the name Advocate? 

The best exam­ple is the mag­a­zine, and we’re reg­u­lar read­ers of it.

There are even more Advo­cates, pub­lished from many dif­fer­ent places.

Here’s a fair­ly com­plete list of the major ones:

There was also a week­ly news­pa­per in Port­land, Ore­gon, that was known as The Advo­cate. It ceased pub­li­ca­tion in 1933.

Is it okay to repro­duce posts pub­lished by NPI?

Yes, under cer­tain con­di­tions. See our Terms of Reuse page. (The North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute is opposed to dra­con­ian copy­right restric­tions that sti­fle inno­va­tion and the free exchange of ideas).

Which web brows­er is best for view­ing The Cas­ca­dia Advocate?

The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate should ren­der prop­er­ly in any of the major browsers for Win­dows, Mac, or GNU/Linux. We’re fond of Mozil­la Fire­fox (which runs on all of those oper­at­ing sys­tems) but we also test the blog for com­pat­i­bil­i­ty with Chromi­um-based browsers and Safari. We rec­om­mend that GNU/Linux users install the Microsoft Core Fonts pack­age and add Tahoma for opti­mal reading.

Does NPI pub­lish columns by guest contributors?

Yes. Since 2004, we have pub­lished guest columns from many dis­tin­guished polit­i­cal lead­ers and thinkers, includ­ing Sen­a­tor Maria CantwellState Sen­a­tor Eric Oemig, and Seat­tle Pacif­ic Uni­ver­si­ty Polit­i­cal Sci­ence Chair Reed Davis. We wel­come guest columns from read­ers who have time­ly and thought­ful com­men­tary to share. Sub­mis­sions are pub­lished at our discretion.

Is it pos­si­ble to become a reg­u­lar con­trib­u­tor for NPI?

Yes. We invite pro­gres­sive activists who want to make a dif­fer­ence and share their ideas with the world to join our team. See cur­rent open­ings here.

Are com­ments editable by their mak­ers once they’ve been submitted?

No, but a read­er may request that a com­ment they sub­mit­ted be mod­i­fied by an edi­tor if it con­tains inac­cu­rate infor­ma­tion or is poor­ly word­ed. (Edi­tors typ­i­cal­ly proof­read com­ments for spelling and gram­mar pri­or to approval).

Requests should be made through NPI’s con­tact form, using the same email address that the orig­i­nal com­ment was sub­mit­ted with, and should con­tain a copy of the com­ment that’s cur­rent­ly live on the blog in the com­ment thread along with a revised ver­sion with clear demar­ca­tion show­ing what the desired changes are.

Have a ques­tion that’s not addressed here?

Please feel free to get in touch with us.

Thanks for reading!