June 12, 2010
At a time when the world seems bent on proclaiming the final passing of “real” journalism and the newspaper industry, some big names from a few of DC’s best known traditional news outlets are pulling together a staff from around the country – pros and prodigies, social media whiz-kids and old school newspaper guys – to create a new approach to delivering the news online and on-the-go. They insist the reports of the industry’s death are greatly exaggerated. They’re betting its fate is yet…to be determined.
Welcome to TBD.com
Allbritton Communications, which owns WJLA, News Channel 8, other ABC-affiliated news stations in the eastern U.S. and Politico, announced plans for TBD.com in October 2009. Former Washington Post online editor Jim Brady leads the launch of the interactive news website as general manager, with support from editor Erik Wemple, who was most recently editor of the Washington City Paper. Steve Chaggaris, formerly of CBS News, manages the TV side of TBD, including a revamp of News Channel 8. Steve Buttry is on board as Director of Community Engagement.
By aggregating heavily, utilizing geocoding for personalization and applying “the Politico mentality” (an urgency and willingness to publish incrementally) to local news, TBD intends to be a one-stop news shop for the District, Maryland, and Virginia, acknowledging that while DC is the heart of the area, most of us live, work, and play in a combination of these governing regions.
While they plan to be a news hub for the area, the folks at TBD.com don’t plan to do it alone and are enlisting the help of partners who will supplement and enhance their news coverage. From local neighborhood blogs to niche arts and dining websites to weekly community newspapers, they’ll be pulling in as many of the area’s news resources as possible to offer the most complete picture.
For TBD.com, transparency is a big priority. Recognizing they may not have all the answers and details about the news stories users care about, they say they’ll be counting on readers to fill in the blanks and help construct the most complete history of the news happening in our region. Stories at TBD will always be developing, and TBD will “belong to everyone.”
Editors Note: Michelle Hoffman is the secret identity of The Burning Desire (affectionately known as TBD!). Her super-powers include interactive digital storytelling and creative alchemy. She’s one half of a new dynamic-duo with @JillFoster. You can follow some of their adventures @tbdunmasked.
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