From the Editor

David Staats: 150 years of writing rough drafts

dstaats@idahostatesman.comJuly 16, 2014 

David Staats

David Staats

As I write, readers are in the final day of voting for the top 10 stories since the Statesman's 1864 founding.

I worked on the committee that picked the top 50 stories from which the top 10 are being chosen. We began with a newsroomwide meeting to solicit ideas. Most reflected events within the lifetimes of people in the room. For a longer historical perspective, we reached out to Boise historians Arthur Hart and Todd Shallat.

Once we narrowed our list to 50, we assigned stories on each. I wrote two - on the Oregon Trail and the Chinese settlement of Idaho - with a video on each. When it came time for me to vote, I chose at least five business and economic-development stories, including water's transformation of Idaho, the state's gold rush, Joe Albertson opening his first store, Micron's founding and the building of the Hells Canyon dams. (I tweeted my full ballot Monday, July 14.)

One reason I like journalism is that we write the first rough draft of history. A few stories' historic importance is obvious when they happen - think statehood or 9/11 - but often the significance emerges over time. It's been fun to pause at the Statesman's 150-year mark to take a long view. If you took part in the voting, thank you. Watch for the top 10 in a special section on our birthday, Saturday, July 26., @IDS_DavidStaats

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