DCCrankTank will gradually be shifting its coverage ever so slightly — away from daily posting and reactive blogging (basically, a chore) to a slower pace with hopefully more photos and interactive elements. That will start tomorrow. I encourage all co-writers to continue to submit pieces — I love reading about all you have to say. And Fatboy, I think everyone digs the cartoons. Please keep them up. You simply possess a talent that I do not.
This blog was originally conceived as a way for me to write every day, for a year. I fell short, instead posting every weekday for almost eight months. This was still an important accomplishment for me. It all sprouted from a conversation with an impressive veteran journalist, who took the time to advise me on how to get out of my awful previous job and into a new job, which I did. She said, “Do you have a blog?” As soon as she asked that, it became clear I was not working hard enough to better myself in a hard-working town where everyone is bettering themselves.
This peek into the “traffic” side of journalism combined with the fact that I generally create all my own content (though shout out to all my contributors, again. The world needs to hear your voices too) unveiled all kinds of interesting things about writing and audience. I now have a much better idea of how one would create a news organization from scratch, which on a small scale, is exactly what I did.
Sometimes hundreds of people read a post that I wrote in 10 minutes, other times four people would read something that took two hours to put together. Certain trends began to manifest: People love opinion and humor…and anger. They are less interested in a 1, 2, 3– part series on newspapers. They liked when I lit into Capitol Hill NIMBYs, but did not care to read the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5-part series about all I had observed in Barracks Row and how it developed my opinion of NIMBYs in the first place. Much of blogging success is rooted in presentation and making it easy to find information that people are trying to find; a multi-part series really needs it’s own anchor page. But dang it, that is exactly the crap I did at my old job, and at least they paid me. But in blogging to do things properly is a full-time job, exemplified by Prince of Petworth.
As a journalist, it made me question whether there is value in a piece that few people read but is still interesting to you as a writer; as a new media type, it starts to make sense why the HuffingtonPost writes articles like “What Time Does The Super Bowl Start?” The difference between that outfit and myself is that they are in the business of making money.
Right now, I want to tell stories.
So do a lot of bloggers, and for them, writing is a labor of love. Now the casual users of blogs (think insipid Livejournal people) have fled to Twitter and Facebook. Got a new video? It’s easier to share it on Facebook rather than format out a blog post. If you have a hot new blog post, you should probably put it on blast on Twitter. Things are changing so quickly that blogs, which helped downsize newspapers, will likely meet their day of reckoning much sooner than one would have thought in 2004, the year of the blog.
So now, in this space, it is time to look past the breaking news bandwagon. That road is when rutted with lots of busywork, and I already have a job that has plenty of that. With my posting goals semi-accomplished, this has got to be a place for fun and trying new things, not trying to be DCist. Thanks for reading.