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Climenhaga nominated for Yeggie

Local pundit up for Edmonton New Media Award

By: Victoria Paterson

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 01:46 pm

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One of St. Albert’s best-known political pundits is up for an area social media award.

David Climenhaga has been shortlisted as a nominee in the 2013 Edmonton New Media Awards, also known as the Yeggies, in the category of best in political or current affairs for his blog Alberta Diary.

“I didn’t know anything about it,” Climenhaga said after his nomination was announced last week.

Climenhaga, a former journalist, now works in communications but still finds time to keep up his blog, which is usually written in the style of a newspaper opinion column.

“I try to have a story that’s a little different than what’s appearing in the news media,” Climenhaga said.

“My pledge to myself is I’ll never write something I won’t enjoy writing,” he said, though he noted he has broken that promise once or twice. “I wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t fun because like I said there’s no money in it.”

Climenhaga started his blog as St. Albert Diary six-and-a-half years ago. He estimated he’s done 3,000 posts since.

When he started, he had maybe a few dozen readers, and then managed to start attracting numbers in the low hundreds. Now that readership is much larger.

“There’s got to be lately about 2,000 people a day that read it,” Climenhaga said. “My numbers are getting pretty good. It’s got a following.”

Part of that following includes the political set. Becoming a “must-read” for journalists and politicians is rewarding, he said.

While Dave Cournoyer’s political blog Daveberta might be better known across the province, Climenhaga figures he’s number two.

“I think between us we’re the two best known political bloggers in Alberta now,” he said.

The blog might have started as St. Albert Diary, but since its humble beginnings has shifted to focus largely on provincial politics, with the occasional dash of federal commentary.

The “best day” for his blog came last March when a story he wrote about his experience at the annual Manning Centre conference included a snapshot of American politician Ron Paul, which attracted readers from south of the 49th parallel.

“I had almost 12,000 visitors in one day. It was unbelievable. I would sit there on Google real time watching them and they were all from the United States,” Climenhaga said.

While Alberta Diary might attract readers from around the world on occasion, Climenhaga can usually count on regular readership from St. Albertans.

Using Google Analytics, he’s able to see where his readers are coming from.

“I go in and take a peek and as soon as I file there are always St. Albert people looking at it,” he said.

Climenhaga’s fellow shortlisted nominees include Edmonton city councillor Scott McKeen, the Edmonton Journal’s podcast The Press Gallery, Radical Citizen Media, Macleans’ magazine’s Colby Cosh and Gig City.

Other categories include best in Edmonton, best Twitter persona and several others. The Yeggies website said over 200 nominations were received.

The date and details of the awards ceremony have not yet been announced.

Climenhaga’s blog has previously won second in the 2013 Canadian Weblog Awards.

In addition to Alberta Diary, Climenhaga has recently launched a new website called WTF Alberta?, which promises “genuine fake news from Alberta.”

Climenhaga’s blogs can be found at albertadiary.ca and wtfalberta.blogspot.com.


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