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:
- The Advocate (Daily newspaper in Tasmania, Australia)
- The Advocate (Weekly newspaper of Contra Costa College)
- The Advocate (Daily newspaper in Baton Rouge, Louisiana)
- The Advocate (Daily newspaper in Newark, Ohio)
- The Advocate (Daily newspaper in Stamford, Connecticut)
- The Harvard Advocate, a Harvard College-based literary magazine
- The Advocate Weekly Newspapers, a set of weekly regional alternative newspapers published by New Mass. Media Corp. in Connecticut and Massachusetts.
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 Cantwell, State 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?
Thanks for reading!