DCist.com editor blogs District cool for the masses
Rob Goodspeed knows what's going on. And why shouldn't he? He's got a whole network of specialized editors to tell him every day. As editor of DCist, a fast-growing weblog documenting the District's events, Goodspeed has to be on the alert for what's happening so faithful readers can plan their social lives.
DCist, found at www.dcist.com, has risen to scoring 10,000 hits per day since its launch on Sept. 7, 2004. It's part of a trend started in New York City by Gothamist LLC, and there are now 14 cities in the network, including Austin, San Francisco and most recently Miami.
Rob got his gig after seeing an ad on the Gothamist weblog site and contacting them with his idea for a D.C. version of the site. He and his partner, Mike Grass, landed co-editor spots, and now a team of 40 contributes to, edits and manages the site. Grass has since gone onto a full-time (and paying) job at the Washington Post Express.
Goodspeed graduated from the University of Michigan in 2004. While he was a history major there, he had a very successful blog, www.goodspeedupdate.com, which received 500 hits daily at its peak. Throughout college, Goodspeed talked about politics and news and exercised his interest in journalism. His resume enabled him to score his DCist job, and now he sits back and monitors what his associate editors are doing. They recruit contributing bloggers and edit the subsections while Goodspeed keeps an eye on the Web site's content and writes the "Morning Roundup" twice a week.
DCist isn't Goodspeed's paying job, however. He works at the nonprofit People for the American Way, where he organizes an online academy for youth outreach and manages a database for political outreach to African-American churches. Though there's no money in DCist yet, Goodspeed says he's able to look past it because he meets a lot of great people who "have a genuine passion for where they live."
Throughout the day, Goodspeed and DCist's associate editors have meetings and shoot e-mails back and forth. The community of readers offers inside tips and serves as a pool of exclusive photographers; through a feature on Flickr.com that allows users to tag photos with "dcist," anyone's D.C.-related photos can appear in the DCist photo section, where they're sometimes used with relevant posts.
Goodspeed hates comparing cities; he says it's hard to classify one city as better than another because the ups and downs are so different. He says he prefers to venture off the beaten path of the cities he does love. A Shaw resident, Goodspeed says he hangs out in Columbia Heights and Adams Morgan and likes Pharmacy Bar, The Raven, Tonic and his friends' happy hour at Wonderland. He says he's always open to trying out new things.
Goodspeed says he'll probably edit DCist for a few years and then pursue journalism. He's planning on getting a Master's degree in city planning from the University of Maryland.
All in all, there's something about DCist that the Post doesn't seem to get, and Goodspeed's finger is on the pulse of this fresh form of media. He's young, informed, and able to condenss many views of a story into one readable paragraph. And lucky D.C. residents are hip to the scene because of it.
Though Goodspeed doesn't see himself as king of the blogosphere, he says he's into breaking molds: "Just because there are conventions in journalism doesn't mean it has to be that way"