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As Rep. Ed Royce left a Foreign Affairs Committee meeting in 2009, he wondered whether anyone was actually paying attention.
“Does anyone really follow that on C-SPAN?” the California Republican thought.
He decided they don’t. And if he wanted to get attention paid to the issues his committee covers, he’d have to get the word out himself.
“It struck me that it would be much easier to read blog posts than to try to follow a hearing,” he said.
And so “Foreign Intrigue” was born.
Royce, chairman of the Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade Subcommittee, is clear about the blog’s mission: to inform the reader about news items that catch Royce’s eye.
“There is a lot to keep track of,” the introduction to the blog reads. “I’ll try and keep it to material that is free and unique — so you’ll keep coming back.”
Royce’s first post in February 2009, “Missiles on the Mind,” was a good indicator of what was to come. He linked to a couple of editorials from the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal and interjected a little commentary about North Korea.
Since that first post, he’s written regularly on his blog, which is hosted on his House website. He has posted more than 250 times, covering everything from President Barack Obama’s state visits to the trial of Maj. Nidal Hasan, the alleged Fort Hood shooter.
He still uses other platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook, to reach out to constituents. But the blog posts allow him to craft his own words into something more substantial than a 140-character sound bite or a status update.
Even with a busy calendar, it’s relatively easy to write a post every few days, he said.
“I don’t blog every day because I don’t have the discipline to do that,” Royce said with a laugh. “I keep them short. Usually something agitates, and I seize on that opportunity.”
Once the post is done, someone on his staff edits it before it’s uploaded to the website. Royce said it’s a pretty open-door policy: If it isn’t good, the staffer tells him to try again.
“They’ll say, ‘Ed, you don’t want to say that. Take another crack at it,’ which I appreciate,” he said.
The News Cycle
Anyone who might wonder how seriously Royce takes blogging should glance at his business card. The link to “Foreign Intrigue” is in bold gold lettering across the bottom.
“I had to cajole somebody to get it on there,” he said. “I had to convince them that somebody would actually go to the blog.”
Royce said the best part about blogging is that he has a say in what matters.
“You find yourself frustrated when the media is not giving sufficient coverage to something, instead focusing on Snooki and ‘Jersey Shore’ and Anthony Weiner,” he said.