9.29.2009

Some clarifications about this site

A few good discussions have been going on in the comments here (this is likely a first for this site!) and I just wanted to say a few words about the direction this site has gone in the past few months.

I began writing for Why I Hate DC last November. My initial interest was to write about DC politics. I read the news, and a lot of the time I don't like what I see. I also enjoy writing, so I threw my hat in the ring. It's always been a stretch for me to write the sort of sarcastic, personal-story-oriented pieces that Rusty or James had mastered. Due to various circumstances, it ended up that I was the remaining writer. Rather than "fake it" and try to write in a tone that wasn't my own, I took a different attitude.

This turned off many of the site's older readership. At the same time, though, it attracted a new readership. As it stands today, more people read this site now than at any other point since Liz was replaced. For the record, both Rusty and James have sent in emails saying they like the direction the site had gone in.

It's a different site now. The name doesn't even so much apply. People come here for a different take on local news. Sadly I have to pick and choose what I cover, because this is not my full-time job. I would absolutely love to spend an entire day digging around for information about the Taxicab scandal. I'd love to take a finetooth comb to Jim Graham's career. If I could spend my days researching the history of safety at Metro to put together feature pieces, I would.

Instead, I use what free time I have and what resources I have to cover stories I think people will enjoy reading. Whatever your personal opinion was about the ghost bikes, it captured the attention of a lot of people. So I sent in FOIA requests and asked people for comments. I put together a story. The local TV news, DCist, City Paper and the Washington Post all covered the ghost bikes story. All of those stories left questions unanswered. I answered them. People read the story, and a lot of people commented. I noted that it cost me some money out of pocket to get those answers. Readers who were interested and appreciated the content donated some money, and in the end I have covered the costs of the FOIA request.

I'll continue to cover what I can, with the time that I have. I'll do my best to bring things to light that have been otherwise forgotten or overlooked. There aren't a whole lot of other DC blogs that spend a lot of time doing this. If I ever have the opportunity to cover DC news with more resources than simply a blog, I would take advantage of that. For now, I'll continue to write for 'blogs.'

Good content is good content. News is news, whether it's covered by a blog, a TV network, or a newspaper. If people want a story covered, I'll cover it. It's a simple as that.

Thanks for reading.

23 comments:

  1. i never read why.i.hate.dc unless someone else linked to it, and even then, i would just skim the article. the tone just seemed to juvenile for me.

    the direction you've taken the site—i like. i can see where some of the old fans might be disappointed, but i think you're doing what citizen journalism should be. kudos.

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  2. Yes, you enjoy writing but, unfortunately, you're not very good at it. You step down.

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  3. You are doing one hell of a job. Under your perview, why.i.iate.dc has become my favorite dc local news/etc source. You coverage of the Metro crisis has been better concieved, better written, and better produced than unsuckdcmetro's (while they are filling a necessary niche themselves). Your coverage of other issues has been better than just about any other DC news source.

    Keep on it, man. Hope you can pull a Prince of Petworth if you want to.

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  4. You're not going to make any money, jackass.

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  5. this site has only gotten better since matthew mientka left. keep up the good reporting.

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  6. Matt's content was crap. But there's a difference between a standard floater (current content) and Matt's excrement which rarely failed to elicit a "dude, it looks like you have been snacking on glow sticks and small rodents" sort of comment. At least it was interesting.

    Current incarnation of this blog = FAIL

    Change the name and grant this space a peaceful rest. I see "davesworlddc.blogspot.com" is available if you want to continue "writing." Or you can always go back to www.whichwayup.org which looks like it could use some attention.

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  7. I never read this site until recently so your why.i.hate.dc is the only one I know. However, I like what you are doing here. Sometimes over-the-top sarcasim, while funny, can muddle the issues. What I get from your writing is that there are things in DC that could stand to change and instead of just bitching about them, you are actively seeking solutions. You also don't take the stance as other DC bloggers do that you are the ultimate authority on all things DC. Thus far, this has become my favorite DC blog. In fact, I don't really read any others at this point (occasionally Frozen Tropics, but I don't live in that neighborhood anymore so her topics don't affect me as much).

    So, keep up the good work, whether you keep the blog here or start a new one. And never, ever do anything that makes you anything like the Prince of Petworth.

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  8. Please ignore my gross misspelling of sarcasm.

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  9. agree with Jen. it would be great if you could do this full time. it would NOT BE GREAT if you implemented crap like "smell of the day", and if you ended up in Graham's pocket like Prince of Petworth.

    (for the naysayers: please. don't even pretend like Prince of Petworth isn't influenced, monetarily or otherwise, by his advertisers and Graham. he's too afraid to say anything about this latest Grahamgate because he'd lose whatever clout he thinks he has in DC government)

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  10. i like what you're doing, but this is a new direction for the blog. but then good haters are hard to come by. the m@ et all crew was bad. period. i don't chuckle reading this as i did in the old days, but its more productive to chase stories and inform than spew vitriol all over for the occasional chuckle. things change. i think this one is for the better, if drier.

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  11. I liked the old site and i like the new incarnation, too. the stuff in the middle, eh...

    but i'm with monkey. it's not the content of this site that annoys me. it's that fact that you've kept the name. i'm sorry, but for the name of this blog to remain why.i.hate.dc is just asinine.

    again, i like what you're doing here. but why not just create a new blog from scratch? the original intent of this blog was pure snark. nothing else. the title screams that. the first time i ever came here, i was looking at pics of fucking ridiculous Virginia license plates.

    now i come here and see quasi-serious commentary that seems to try and *improve* dc, with a minimum amount of snark.

    if you're not willing to keep the original intent of the blog, that's fine. just let the name die already. make it your own.

    you clearly don't hate DC. if you did, you wouldn't put this much work into these types of posts.

    change. the. name.

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  12. Great site, and love your stories - thanks for writing.

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  13. I like the content generally. I've read since the Rusty days and I think that the issues you choose are generally a lot more relevant than just bitching about Metro all the time.

    Not that you don't still do that, but I think your approach of actually looking for the roots of the problem is a lot more meaningful that posting a rant because your train was late.

    Your piece making fun of local blogs was the best thing published here since Rusty left. I do miss that side a little bit - I don't think the style of the blog has to be 100% serious to keep it relevant and on point. Don't lose your sense of humor.

    I also like that this site is becoming a roundup for the pieces of local news that are the most relevant without overwhelming too much. For example, I don't have the attention span to get through Loose Lips most of the time, but I feel like you usually pull out the most interesting things, but often things that are below the radar of even DCist.

    I don't always agree on where you choose to focus a lot of energy, e.g. the ghost bike thing - which, really, became a publicity stunt for the "artist" and all the attention (negative or positive) that was given only validated his jackassery. There are much more important issues that would benefit from the same kind of investigation.

    But that said it seems like you have the interest, know-how and time needed to fill a much-needed void in local news. There is a huge gap between people like me, who just extrapolate on whatever strikes my fancy without adding a lot of value beyond my opinions and analysis, and the so-called legitimate news, which for the most part continually ignores just about everything going on in DC, up to and including some homicides and outright corruption in our government.

    If I had more free time I would do exactly the sort of thing you are doing.

    As far as the name of the blog, who cares? It's just a name, I have no problem with it, but maybe you should consider an evolution:

    "How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love DC."

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  14. Bullshit.

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  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  16. Alas, I felt my ears burning.

    I'd agree w/ some of the criticism here in that, above all, I went for a chuckle. I would walk eight miles for a joke and I think that's a high value. The best advice I can give you is to try not to take yourselves too seriously.

    Peace.

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  17. There's clearly two different audiences here. One is looking for original, thoughtful content. The other is looking for humor and snark. It's hard to mesh those two together in an effective way. Perhaps it's time for a rebranding for my writing elsewhere. I'm not saying either audience is more or less important, they are different.

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  18. "It's hard to mesh those two together."

    Not disagreeing, but I think if done well, there's no more effective mechanism for news analysis. Satire and irony, when done right, highlight the shortcomings of the straightforward analysis. Think Daily Show.

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  19. Dave, I think you're doing a great job, and I'd echo pretty much everything that Jamie said above. I started reading when Rusty ran the blog, and I enjoyed it a lot then. After he left I honestly thought the whole thing would flame out. The Liz period was cringe-worthy, and I didn't enjoy the M@ weirdness at all. I feel like the blog has turned a corner now and you're finding your niche. Keep at it, and as Jamie said, "Don't lose your sense of humor."

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  20. Dave,

    Your righteous Kung Fu grip on the necks of John Catoe and WMATA make this interation of the blog damn near worth paying for.

    If you're ever looking for a co-writer with a perspective on the city from a black D.C. native who has lived here since the 80's, hit me up.

    I'm the author of the now-retired StuffBlackPeopleHate.com.

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  21. Make that 'iteration'. Jesus.

    http://stuffblackpeoplehate.com/2008/03/26/spelling-and-grammatical-errors/

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  22. I stopped reading after that chick dropped the ball a while back. I recently came back and was disappointed in what the site has become.

    I'm not saying there isn't a place for your writing but why blog here? I am sure there are plenty of people here who would love to write and be snarkmasters.

    Nevertheless, thank you for the explanation - now I don't have to wonder what the hell is going on here.

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