Topic of the week: The Dome

I visit The Dome many times a day. It is a good blog that is part of a good newspaper that is part of a good newspaper company. We all have an interest in The Dome being the best that it can be. Which brings us to our topic of the week.

Under the Dome is your inside source on North Carolina politics and government. Check here for the latest on state and federal government, political advocacy and upcoming elections. This blog is maintained by Ryan Teague Beckwith with the help of reporters Barb Barrett, Lynn Bonner, Rob Christensen, Dan Kane, Ben Niolet, Jane Stancill and Titan Barksdale, along with David Ingram and Mark Johnson of The Charlotte Observer.

Under the Dome has been a regular column in The N&O since 1934.

That's a long time.


How often do you visit the Dome?

Number of times a week? 0? 10? 20? 30? 40?

Have you ever commented there?

Besides here...

and the Confluence, it's what I check daily (then comes Pam's House Blend, then Drudge, and, if I'm in that mood, realclearpolitics).

And I've commented too many times than prolly I've should!!

They generally do a great job there. Sometimes they need to flesh out some of their stories a bit more, they let some comments slide w/o adding the factual information, etc. It reminds me of Washington Journal on C-SPAN, where the guy just sits there, letting crazy people say anything.

But, it's great, and besides here, where I get my NC political news...


I'm sure some people there think I'm crazy.

Crazy as a Fox with his rabbit shots?

I'm sure some people there think I'm crazy. * James

You are dang right they think that, until I visit the site. After that, you are consider a normal sane American citizen in search of Justice!

I read their feed.

I think one problem with their blog is something we've been working, and by we I mean Betsy, to fix here. Too many posts too quickly. It pushes things off the "frontpage" too fast.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

A technical fix?

There may be a technical fix to that issue as well. I hope to eventually have a sort of "top news" headlines across the top somewhere so that casual visitors know what's important today.


Checking in...

Happy to answer any questions...



Thanks for stopping by.

I'm sure I could find this if I did some huntin', but would you remind us when you launched the Dome blog? Sometimes it probably seems like ten years, but I think it's a little less, right?


Might want to check that link.



14 months ... seems like a pretty good run out of the blocks to me.

I'd love to have your advertising guys come on and tell us about how the newspaper and the blog work together on sales and "circulation." I'm sure everyone is still figuring out the new business model, but it would be great to understand how the business side of the newspaper business is unfolding, so to speak.



I assume that your editors choose which of your posts go from the blog to the paper, but whats the process for picking what you cover on the blog? (other than breaking news of course)

"Keep the Faith"

"Keep the Faith"


Magic 8 Ball. That's what all the "A" list bloggers use. Sheesh. Get with the program, Blue South.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Secret sauce

You know, I'd have to ask Bill Krueger, the capitol editor, how he decides. I think the main things are timeliness, interest and readability. I write a lot of things on the blog that would not translate well into the print edition, mainly because of tone or the level of presumed wonkishness on the reader.



Okay, Ryan. HOW and WHY do you put up with the 3-4 people who comment on virtually every single post with either an Obama chain letter or something regarding "omg DEMOCRAKKKKZ."

Any lesser man would've just banned them by now. You've got patience, kiddo.

The ongoing presence of FFC

We really just have one user who does that, and I've really wrestled with how to respond.

At BlueNC, you have the advantage of creating a community of mostly like-minded folks. You may not all agree on the means, but you mostly agree on the ends and you respect each other's positions.

But I'm trying to create a middle ground where both sides can come find information. That's a lot more difficult in the online world than it used to be in the print edition.

I find most of FFC's comments juvenile, but I'm not going to delete them on that criteria. I only cut him off when he uses offensive or violent language.

And you know something? One day he commented about receiving an e-mail pitch from Rep. Walter Jones, who was using Ron Paul's list. (FFC's a Libertarian, don't you know.) I ended up getting a post out of that.

So even he has something to contribute every now and then.


Accidental double post!

My bad.

I don't visit the Dome that often

I'm usually prompted by a Google alert for one candidate or another. I really like the blog and Ryan's a pretty durned spiffy writer, but I just don't have time to get involved with another blog.

Most recently I enjoyed his write ups on the debates/forums in Atlantic Beach.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

A question for you guys

As you may have read, the political teams N&O and the Char-O will be combining forces in the near future.

A lot of the details about the new McClatchy Raleigh bureau have not been decided (and will happen at a level above my pay grade) but some things about the Dome could change, mostly for the better I believe.

With that in mind, what changes would you like to see in the Dome? Any of the more tech-minded above you have any usability gripes?




Specifically, which ones lobby for what entities. They have a ton of clout, but we hardly know 'em.
Thanks for asking.


Related to that....

the online site used to have a feature where you would "out" who was getting wined and dined by the lobbyists. I don't know if it ever caught on, but I think that column alone could become a HUGE hit if it were done with sufficient snark and intellect....snarkellect. (Copyright Immediately by me)

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

Re: Lobbyists

While I know you were talking about coverage in the Dome, for reference, all lobbyists' names and their principals are available here.



That's a good idea. I've been thinking of adding some lobbyist profiles — other than this one — but I've not yet caught up with all the politicians.


separate login from the paper

I can never remember my login for the paper and the few times I've been drawn to comment at The Dome it was too much trouble to get my info from the N&O in order to comment. Your blog really does stand on its own, so maybe you could request an easier login system.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

The Fun Pictures

Does Powell do the cartoon pictures that you guys have? Also, are there standards that one must meet to get a cartoon? I'm a Duke student and Munger has told me that he wants one, and I'm inclined to agree that he should get one.

The caricatures

... are done by Grey Blackwell, who also handles our online cartoons. He used to work for Mad magazine and has done national magazine work and even a pack of Bubble Yum. He's a very talented caricaturist.

As for Munger, don't worry, we won't chilipunk him.


Comment nesting

A while ago, the structure of nested comments shifted. Now they're all sequential, regardless of whether they reference a specific commenter. I liked it better the other way . . . you could follow conversations more easily.


What browser are you using? I've noticed that with Safari, but not Firefox.


names with comments

One would be more tempted to check on the comments on the Dome if one could see the poster's user name with it. That is, I don't mind FFC's being there squawking, but it would be nice to save time and skip a few of his, what with the message each time being fairly predictable.

It's puzzling to me why people complain about a poster on blogs that provide names alongside comment titles (since they can easily avert their eyes), but with the Dome's system, one has to click onto the comment to find out it's the same ole same ole.

I'm surprised by how many among people who say they are interested in politics do not read Dome. I'm surprised by the number of people who do not realize that an online Dome exists.

Of course, I'm surprised by people all the time.

A good suggestion

I think that would be an excellent way to resolve that problem. I'll put it to my editors.


How often...

Apparently, not often enough, since I rarely go there and many of you say it's an informative site.

I'll check out, more frequently.

NCDem Amy on YouTube

Tilting right?

Over dinner tonight, someone told me she never reads the Dome because she considers it heavily tilted to the right. I've shared that opinion myself from time to time, but this person was adamant. When I looked at the stories posted tonight, she was pretty hard to argue with.

Pat McCrory will rock you, plus stories on Viagra Dole, Liddy, Pittenger, and the Civitas Circus. Nasty stuff.

I guess I'll step back and take a good long look. I canceled my subscription to the print version of the N&O more than a year ago because of the lame editorials and the creepy presence of Rick Martinez (a bona fide Puppet) as an op-ed columnist.


Just to be clear, I believe anyone has the right to plaster their political biases all over their newspaper or blog. Just as anyone also has the right not to read or link to it.

It's a blog

so it's OK for it to tilt. Unfortunately, the relationship with the paper gives some folks the impression The Dome is all news/facts and not opinion. I simply find that I rarely get anything new there unless it is something Ryan is reporting as blog/news. I'm getting a lot of the same press releases and google alerts that Ryan is apparently. I think it is worth checking out since Ryan does some original reporting, but I don't plan on commenting and getting involved in the site. Oh...and another thing....I tend to forget Ryan isn't the only contributor. Some of the tilting is a result of other writers hijacking contributing to The Dome.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.