What is The Nooner?
I was a co-founder of The Roundup, which I stopped doing when I got too busy with my work for community colleges. However, I found that I was still waking up early and would fire off e-mails of my thoughts on the news to friends. The Nooner basically is me sharing those thoughts with anybody who is interested. It shouldn't have a partisan bent, except bending away from a particular view, as I'm no Kool-Aid drinker.
What you read as my opinion in The Nooner is the stuff you'd hear at a local Capitol watering hole, or see in an SMS message if you stole an insider's smartphone. If there is a conventional wisdom to be popped, that's perfect Nooner content.
The Nooner relies on tips, which are usually verified, but always kept confidential unless a source wants the recognition. Remember, however, that I write between 4:30-6:30am before going to work for my true passion, so don't think you're going to make it into The Nooner by dropping something in my lap at 11:50 a.m.
The news articles in The Nooner are the top 25 headlines on Around The Capitol through noon, based on reader interest in (clicks on) the stories.
The Nooner is free and ad-supported, but the coolest people pay $3.99/month or $39/year for the early distribution of an ad-free version and additional downloadable content.
Who runs AroundTheCapitol.com?
The headlines portion of the site basically runs itself. The code was written by Scott Lay, who was the President/CEO of the Community College League of California for eight years and has worked in various capacities with the Legislature and California elections for 22 years. Scott has a bachelor's
degree in political science public service and a juris doctorate from the University of California, Davis. Most of the code was written to help Scott keep up with the news and legislation he tracks. Apparently, he also likes to speak in the third person.
Is there a partisan bent?
Stories are ranked algorithmically, and there's nothing in that algorithm that favors a partisan bent (i.e. The Majority Report (D) and FlashReport (R) get equal treatment). Any partisan bent on the legislative bill pages comes from the site's users themselves by reading stories. I rarely opine on bills, although when I do, it's always under comments and always under my real name.
I am a former Democratic activist and a regular donor to candidates of both parties that I think will be good on higher education or who are my local representatives. I'm at foremost a Californian who loves this state and wants information to be available to interested citizens, in the way I felt when I got my hands on those copies of California Journal in the good old days.
While I am not a journalist, I try to disclose any conflicts I have when I write The Nooner. I also work to be as balanced as possible, although welcome your criticism if you think I bend too far one way. I frequently offer corrections or confessions that I was biased.
Where does the legislative information come from?
The data on legislation, laws, and campaign contributions and expenditures are directly imported from the Legislative Data Center and the Secretary of State's Office.
Which news stories are included?
Stories can be added to AroundTheCapitol.com either by eureka!, who is the AroundTheCapitol.com robot, or by users. Any registered user can submit a story at submit a story. Registration is required (you can also use your Facebook account) to minimize spam and increase the relevance of the site.
If you would like eureka! to crawl a specific newspaper or blog, let me know.
How are stories ranked?
Stories are ranked using several factors, including but not necessarily limited to:
- Recency of the story
- Author of the story
- Keywords in the headline and summary of the story
- Who submitted the story (more frequent contributors are treated as respected users)
- How many people have visited the story from aroundthecapitol, and how recent the visits were
- Whether the story has been mentioned on other respected sites (i.e. Rough & Tumble, The Roundup, Flash Report)
- ElectionTrack alerts are weighted based on the size of the contribution.
The ranking algorithm is constantly being changed, and your suggestions are welcome.