CAMERON: Time to chat with my friends

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Itís been a while since Iíve gone through all of your wonderful comments, questions, criticisms and various responses to my weekly opinions.

So rather than letting faithful readers and email writers feel ignored, I thought maybe today would be a great time to address some of your issues.

We donít have unlimited space, so Iíll try to pick out issues that have been addressed by several people and use one representative email, OK?

And off we go...

QUESTION: Weíve all been hearing about the danger of ďfake news,Ē and youíve mentioned it pretty frequently.

If I want to keep up with real news in the time I have available, and still avoid junk sites or really partisan stuff, what would you suggest?

STEVE: Iím pretty busy, too, so hereís how I try to keep up without frittering away entire days.

Read The Press, obviously, because you have to stay abreast of local news.

Beyond that, the New York Times has a fantastic service through which you can read short email summaries of world and national news each morning. The summaries also contain links to the full stories, if the subject really intrigues you.

Better yet, itís all free and they just pop up automatically in your inbox.

Sign up: www.nytimes.com/newsletters/morning-briefing

Beyond that, Iíd say listen to National Public Radio for fantastic stuff 24 hours a day, and watch CNN (which isnít perfect but itís the best weíve got).

If you want more opinion and analysis, try the Guardian from London if youíre slightly left-center, or an excellent blog called ďThe EditorsĒ from the National Review if youíre right-center.

And finally, if you really want to understand the world from a completely different perspective, I recommend Al Jazeeraís English language web updates. Theyíre thorough and amazing, and surprisingly neutral on everything but the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

You can find any of these outlets with a quick Google search, by the way.

QUESTION: We loved your popular music poll, and imagine you got plenty of feedback from it. The lists with a jukebox effect were pretty cool, too.

But now that youíve done music, when are we going to see another poll where readers can vote?

What about movies? Or do something in sports, like the best player youíve ever seen, or a poll like that?

STEVE: Great ideas, but ...

As much fun as we all had with the music poll, more than 500 ballots were received and they contained about 1,750 different songs.

In other words, that one was hugely time-consuming, but Iím thrilled we did it.

You canít publish reader polls every week, but Iíd love to do them occasionally if my bosses are up for it.

I love the movie idea, and frankly I hadnít thought about sports until you all mentioned it. Maybe Mark Nelke, our sports editor, would be game for something like that.

Weíll see.

I may trot out the movie suggestion sometime soon.

QUESTION: We notice that youíve been covering politics and the legislature quite a bit now.

Tell us the truth about your own views. Are you a Republican or a Democrat?

STEVE: Neither. Iím a journalist.

I wonít ever tell you how I vote, except to say that I concentrate on people and issues rather than political ideologies.

I believe in common sense.

So ...

I feel comfortable writing a column that blisters Gov. Butch Otter for vetoing popular bills after the legislature has adjourned, speaking out in favor of the invasive species act because it affects Kootenai County ó and on the national stage, suggesting that Sen. Bernie Sandersí idea of a single-payer health care system would never work in the United States.

However, Iíve also lived in Europe and I thought that general type of health care was terrific.

See, those opinions are about as far-flung as itís possible to get.

I suppose I just believe that everyone should stay informed, stay involved, and remember to try blending your ideas between whatís best locally and whatís best for the country and the world.

Good enough?

• ē ē

Steve Cameron is a special assignment reporter for The Press: scameron@cdapress.com.

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