I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but not all is well in the land of DC blogging.
Since their peak in March, traffic has been declining each month. This is bad news when you are owned by a company that claims it has “only just begun to grow!” With over two dozen staff members, I doubt they are making much money.
I wrote about the site way back in May 2005. Almost nothing has changed since then: they still regurgitate news from the Post, post weather updates, and feature local bands that no one wants to see. They are irrelevant in all matters related to DC blogging (DC Blogs eclipsed them long ago). I’m not really sure what they are supposed to be about.
It’s easy to bitch about something but hard to provide solutions, so I’m going to help them out. Here are five ways DCist can become a better blog:
1. Fire everyone, including the editor. They’ve gone through something like five editors in the past year and the site is getting progressively worse. That should be a hint to stop promoting from within. If your staff is sucking up the page, don’t pluck one to helm a sinking ship. Replace everyone with hippies who have interesting opinions.
2. Get rid of the classical music agenda. It’s nice you are trying to lock up the highly coveted over-70 crowd, but my grandfather does not read blogs.
3. Hire writers who have goals other than reaching a certain word count. Most posts are fluffy and can be halved without losing any meaning.
Bad writing: We know that many of you are skeptical that worthwhile culture could somehow bloom amidst the barren asphalt expanse of suburbia. But for those of you willing to maintain an open mind about such matters, we propose an evening raid of three of Annandale?s cultural gems in a series of lightning strikes that will enable you to get in, get out, and be back in your Mt. Pleasant basement apartment just in time for Charlie Rose. (76 words)
Translation: Surprisingly, there are places in the Annandale suburbs that are worth visiting. (12 words)
Also, don’t hire people who tried but failed to make it on the stand-up comedy circuit.
4. Write more about DC nightlife. You can easily kill the sorry Going Out Gurus by hiring two or three club rats who post pictures and write reviews that complain about attitude and service. Settle down with all those restaurant reviews; I don’t know anyone who eats out that much.
5. Dump the “continue reading” links. I know you need those to increase your page-view count for advertisers, but no one is going to click those if your lead is uninteresting, which is the case 100% of the time. Your olive branch has no olives.
Who would have known that DCist was at its best back when I first hated on them last year. It was under Mike Grass then, and other than the strange use of bold type, his one-man army is embarrasing a huge team of resume padders. Unfortunately, DCist has been reduced to nothing more than a vehicle for wannabes hoping to get a real journalism job.