I have driven almost 1,000 miles in the past week, and it feels good.

Sure, I’ve had to fill my car’s gas tank several times, but who cares?

The price of a gallon of that sweet go-juice is flirting with a mere $2. I can handle that.

For a while, the cost of gasoline had truly curbed my normal driving habits.

I either walked or rode a bicycle when ever I had the opportunity, and it made me feel good, both physically and emotional.

A strange euphoria seemed to overcome when I thought about how “green,” or environmentally friendly, I was being.

I started to understand what all the hippie environmentalists were talking about.

After all, I had tried going the way of a hippie previously.

In 2007, I decided I was going to stop eating meat and be a vegetarian.

I gave it all I had. In fact, I even hugged a tree during this phase of experimentation I went through during my college years.

However, it soon came to an end.

After about two weeks without really food in my stomach, I gave up those silly hippie ideals and went to wonderfully grease foods and raw, red meats.

I was much happier, but I apparently didn’t learn my lesson.

If I had, I would have realized this “green” way I was living was also only a phase, which is why as soon as my debit card stopped whining about the amount money it was paying at the pump, I started driving without worry.

I’m not a tree-hugging hippie.

Some people are, and that is fine I guess.

It’s most assuredly not for me, though.

I enjoyed flying down the interstate going over 70 mile-per-hour, even though I knew my car, as well as my fellow travelers’ vehicles, was spewing out toxic pollutants as if they were candy and we were driving in a parade.

I wasn’t worried about global warming or the polar ice caps melting.

I’m sure Al Gore wouldn’t be happy with me, but that’s OK. I can deal with a former almost-president looking down his nose at me.

Why?

Because I live in Kansas, America.

We have lots of trees here, and we aren’t in near the kind of jeopardy that over populated areas of the world are in. We have open space, and lots of it.

I should know. I saw a lot of it during my weekend driving spree.

So why did I do so much environment-harming driving?

I went to Kansas City, Mo., for a journalism conference.

It was very enlightening, and as a true nerd, I love those conferences because I always come away with more knowledge.

I like to learn.

The most important thing I took away from the weekend with fellow journalists was how important the online presence of the news organization is.

Now, I always new it was a big deal, and I dedicated the better part of my college career to pursuing such ventures, but I didn’t realize how online advertising revenues were increasing.

With so much doom and gloom about the newspaper industry being a fiscal tailspin, it was nice to see a beacon of light in the keynote speaker.

His name was Mark Glasner, and he runs the technology blog on the PBS Web site, which is called MediaShift.

He pointed out that the amount of money being spent in online advertising is up billons of dollars from previous years.

Granted, that doesn’t mean all that money is being spent on newspaper Web sites, but it does mean the industry isn’t dying.

It saddens me when I talk to friends of mine who are working to complete their college degrees and yet think the world of journalism is endangered.

Such falsehoods infuriate me.

Too many dinosaurs of the journalism industry, who are simply used to different profit margins, are squawking about the death of the newspaper.

Well, that is false.

If it weren’t, conferences such as the one in Kansas City, Mo., wouldn’t be held.
Journalism schools would be closing their doors, and people like me wouldn’t have a job.

It is preposterous to think the act of disseminating news is going to die.

Granted, the method the news is disseminated may change, but that doesn’t equal the extinction of the Fourth Estate.

I will go into great detail about my stance on why this industry is not only surviving, but thriving very soon here at www.voiceofthevogts.com. Stay tuned.

Besides, the proof is all around us.

This publication and countless others continue to produce content, and younger generations of journalists are being raised right now.

On Oct. 30 I attended the awards ceremony for the Kansas Scholastic Press Corps, which was an event for high school journalists who produced a newsletter or video package about the 2008 Kansas State Fair.

One school participated every day, and each team of journalists had to create its product within the time constraints of one day.

I was the mentor for Buhler High School, and my alma mater Canton-Galva High School also participated.

Buhler didn’t place with their newsletter, but Canton-Galva took second.

Buhler had very intricate and creative design, while the winning team and Canton-Galva both took a more traditional approach to the topic and created something that looked like a news paper.

No one knew what to expect going into the competition because this was the inaugural year, but it seems the judges were looking for something with more substance than style.

It is a lesson learned, and I’m sure Buhler will come back strong next year.

Granted, I was happy to see Canton-Galva do well, but I was also proud of Buhler.

They didn’t let anything stop them from producing the type of newsletter they wanted.

The same goes for journalism as a whole.

Just because a few people with loud voices are declaring the end of the industry doesn’t mean it is true.

The high gas prices and the possible environmental implications are in the same boat.

There still isn’t absolutely conclusive evidence about the direction of the environment and what can be done to ensure its long life.

I’m going to keep driving, and with these prices, at least my bank account can handle it.

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