MINOT, N.D. — A little more than 16 years ago, I started a blog called Say Anything on a ratty old Gateway desktop computer with a dial-up internet connection.
It was 2003. We were invading Iraq and George W. Bush was the commander-in-chief.
I was an opinionated 23-year-old kid. I started a weblog on a service called Blogspot (it's now called Blogger) and started writing about current events for nobody in particular.
This was a year before Facebook was founded. Two years before YouTube. Three years before Twitter.
Today, I'm a balding, middle-aged man who spent part of this morning wearing my old glasses in an attempt to find my new glasses (I still haven't).
The blog I started, SayAnythingBlog.com, has become a bigger part of my life than I ever thought possible. At risk of flattering myself, I'd argue that it's a part of the fabric of politics in North Dakota. A source of conversation, controversy and news.
I'm proud of what I built.
It's been my pirate ship.
More than three years ago, Forum Communications Co. hired me, and the blog came along for the ride. It's been a wonderful experience, with really great people, which has put my work in front of audiences I couldn't reach on my own.
Now, things are going to change a bit, but not too much.
SAB will continue to exist, but I will be writing my content primarily for the news sites maintained by Forum Communications.
In the past, my blog posts would appear on SAB first, in full. Then a teaser for those posts, with an excerpt and a link to SAB, would appear on the various FCC news sites.
That's going to reverse. My blog posts will now appear in full on the FCC websites. On SAB will be a teaser and a link to the post on the FCC website.
This will allow SAB's very active commenting community to continue, and it will maintain SAB as a hub for my content. Everything I produce elsewhere will be linked from SAB. There will also be links at the bottom of all my FCC content directing people to SAB if they want to comment.
Why is this happening? There are a couple of reasons.
The old way of doing things was a little confusing. I think long-time SAB readers understood it, but the larger audience I was reaching through FCC was confused when asked to click on a headline, read part of a post, and then click over to a blog to continue reading.
Also, FCC is implementing a paywall, and this move puts my content behind it.
Yes, yes. Some of you are groaning now. But the only way companies like FCC can afford to employ people like me to produce content you enjoy reading (or enjoy hate reading, as the case may be) is by making money.
I know many of my readers have already subscribed. For those who haven't, why not? It's cheap. Less than $10 per month for every single news site under the FCC umbrella (which is more than you may realize).
Also, there are perks. So, so many perks like discounts and access to exclusive content.
I'll stop with the pitchman routine now.
This is a bit of a milestone for me. It is a great privilege to write for an organization like Forum Communications, but beyond that, it is and will continue to be a privilege to write for you.
Even those of you who say mean things about me on social media and make bi-weekly pronouncements that you'll never read a word I write again.
To comment on this article, visit www.sayanythingblog.com
Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, a North Dakota political blog, is a Forum Communications commentator. Listen to his Plain Talk Podcast and follow him on Twitter at @RobPort.