I think every -ist site, including DCist, sucks. The site represents how unemployable writers will whore out a lame trend (blogs) to make a buck. Since I’m so in the loop with the geopolitical social nightlife scene in DC, I was able to come across a confidential fax.
DC -ist Formula For Success (Imagine the ‘DC’ is handwritten.)
DO NOT RELEASE
1. Be generic. Make sure you fit the exact style and mold of your -ist brothers and sisters. Do not dare to be original with writing or content. If your creative bone starts acting up, turn off your computer immediately.
2. Feature other people’s photography by
stealing “showcasing” pictures from Flickr. People who live in (insert city name here) can’t get enough of monuments they’ve seen a million times.
3. Regurgitate news found on media outlets (for starters check newspapers that end their name with Post or Times). Summarize the article and then make a dull comment so it doesn’t look like you’re just copying and pasting stuff.
4. Do not potentially offend a reader by taking extreme positions. Actually, do not take any positions. Remember, to maximum ad dollars we need a lot of viewers. While you write, make-believe you are not an individual, but a generic person who can seamlessly blend in with the general population.
5. Feature local bands… any local band. We need to show that we are hip with the underground scene, even though it is dark and frightening.
6. Post the weather everyday because it’s hard for internet savvy readers to get that information elsewhere. If you’re feeling frisky, throw in a traffic photo of an intersection so the two people who actually encounter it can look at it when they get to work.
Two individuals, Jen Chung and Jake Dobkin, created the original -ist site in New York and then decided they can quit their barista jobs by carbon-copying it to other cities. Under the guise of caring for community causes and local residents, they continue to open -ist sites for one reason only: money. Targetted advertising brings top dollar in the blogging world, and there will always be fledgling writers who will do anything to get read by someone other than their old English professor. The -ist sites try to unite bloggers in each individual city while representing everything opposite of what blogging is supposed to mean: orginal, witty content free of marketing influence.
I was curious on what type of person would write for an -ist site and get paid almost nothing for it. (Chicagoist: “…everyone at Chicagoist contributes for the love of it, not for money”. Yeah, the love of making money for other people.) To find out I crafted an e-mail which would give six random DCist staff members a lot of room to come back with some personality.
I am a daily DCist reader from Maryland and have a question for you. How did you get the writing gig at DCist? I’ve never seen a “now hiring” link on the site to apply.
Also, by using your full name, aren’t you scared to get Google’d by someone you may randomly meet, and them reading your writing? Years ago I was a big part of a Dungeons and Dragon internet forum, not knowing that Google would cache the information (which continues to haunt me). Every time a girl suddenly loses interest in me, I wonder if she found me out. Efforts to bring down those pages permanently have failed.
One thing common about all the replies (five wrote back) is that they were wordy. All went into their hiring history and most asked questions about my writing, encouraging me to try out for a DCist gig. The replies were so polite that I would feel bad about posting some of the highlights.
That said, here are some highlights:
I’m not all too concerned about someone finding out about what I do or what I have written. I was arrested in college, and that appears on Google, so all things considered, DCist is the least of my worries! And sometimes the stuff that appears on Google can help. Well, depends on the girl, but still…
I’m going to make an anonymous web site and link my name to the phrase “animal in bed.”
I’m proud of my work on DCist so it’s not exactly something I try to hide, although I definitely get your drift. When I go out with girls I have to tell
them I am a blogger and assure them my private life is for the most part private.
Actually girls won’t admit it, but they like it when you write about them as long as you don’t totally trash them. It shows you care, or something.
If a girl finds my stuff on the internet and is somehow turned off, I think its their loss, not mine.
I use that same rationalization when a girl doesn’t call me back after a night of showing her my moves on the dance floor.
actually, in the past few months i’ve considered writing for DCist to be an asset for my career. i was accepted to [a decent school] to study new media journalism [i.e. blogging], and i’m pretty sure writing for DCist played a part in that. […] [DCist] helps make a name for all the authors on the site. it’s not like i’m writing for the washington post or anything, but blogging is very “hot” right now, and i think it’s something that’ll be around for a long time.
(This e-mail reminds me of high school, when all the popular kids would run for class council just to pad their resumes.)
A trend’s downfall begins when it is identified as “hot”, like when the media was all over Krispy Kreme donuts, making losers who waited days in line for store openings appear hip and normal. Those very same people were then featured in hundreds of gastric bypass stories two years later. I can’t wait until blogs die and the sites that actually create content remain. Linking to other sites that linked to sites which created something is just like a frat house circle jerk.
I’m going to be the first and last person to hate on DCist. For hit-thirsty DC bloggers, no site owner would be stupid enough criticize a site that gets 5,000 page views a day of a local audience. But I, ladies and gentlemen, am that stupid. I won’t sell out for hits or money because thankfully I have this thing called a job.
Don’t expect any type of reply from DCist. That would go against the rules sent down from the corporate headmasters in New York. Blogging may be hot, but being cheesy and commercial isn’t.
POSTSCRIPT: A DCist writer who got the D&D e-mail sent a mass e-mail happy hour invitation to my DCB account a day after, probably not knowing I’m the same person.
We’re writing you because we’ve long been fans of your blogs and activity within the D.C. blogosphere, and we’d like to invite you to the next DCist happy hour for drinks and discussion
I wonder if they are still fans. I reply back saying I can’t make it, and hinted that a critical review of DCist was upcoming. (I also let the editor know as well, because as a professional webmaster, one must act in a professional manner.)
that’s okay – we don’t read dcbachelor.com that often.
Note the “we”. :laugh: