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Freedom of the press

July 3, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT
Mike Martin sits in front of a computer screen displaying his blog, The Columbia Heart Beat, in his home in Columbia on Monday. Martin has maintained the blog for four years, developing strong contacts with local officials and an intimate familiarity with the Boone County political scene. Martin's commitment to the community evolved after he purchased and renovated several rental properties in the area and got to know his tenants. "I've learned a lot about Columbia from them and how it's changed over the years," he said.

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