Two years ago today, an incredibly talented crew of journalists launched TBD. We had a lot of hype and a lot of fun, even if it didn’t last long. TBD now exists in URL only, its concept abandoned, its talent scattered, its name linked to history’s most famed sinking ship. But I have yet to talk to a colleague who doesn’t remember the experience fondly.
I blogged on the first anniversary of our launch last year about some lessons from the TBD. I’m not going to observe the anniversary every year, but I think two years after the launch it’s worth noting where the #TBDiaspora ended up and how we’re doing. The day Jim Brady left TBD in early November 2010, less than three months after launch, he said he hoped we’d “get the band back together” someday. Well, we have a quartet of the old band playing for Digital First Media: Jim, Mandy Jenkins, Julie Westfall and me. I’ve updated us plenty, but I wanted to check in with the rest of my colleagues.
I think the talent of the TBD group is illustrated by the outstanding journalism organizations where our colleagues landed. Several of the top newsrooms in the business picked up TBD alums, with several hiring multiple members of the #TBDiaspora. In explaining our name when we chose it four months before launching, I said we would need to be determined to succeed. While we never got the chance to succeed as a group, these people are determined and we are succeeding individually in lots of organizations.
I asked my former colleagues to send me updates. Their updates are presented below with light editing. Some didn’t send updates, but I’ve Googled a bit to fill in the blanks of what I knew. (If I couldn’t reach you to ask for an update, please consider this your invitation; email your update to stephenbuttry (at) gmail (dot) com and I’ll add your update. Send along a mug if you want me to use something other than your Twitter avatar, which is what I’ve used mostly here when people didn’t send mugs.) And, if my links left out some of your favorites from TBD or your new job, please send them along or share them in the comments.
Here’s where that talented group landed and what we’re up to now:
National news organizations
It only seems fitting that the guy who nicknamed the project “PostKiller” ended up at the WaPo. Erik was simultaneously dynamic, demanding and delightful. Jim hired him as editor and he had the difficult job of leading the staff following Jim’s departure. As I noted when he left, Erik handled a difficult situation with grace, humor and class. Erik writes “a reported opinion blog on the news media.” He shined his spotlight on my blog on issues such as retweets, livetweeting and whether the Associated Press is primarily an aggregator. I especially liked Erik’s recent blast at Twitter for not following its own rules in suspending the account of NBC critic Guy Adams. In my blog post on advance review of stories with sources, I noted his thoughtful retort to critics of a Post reporter who checked his facts with a source in advance of publication.
Erik’s “Fuego/Frio” segments on TV were always fun, the only times the whole newsroom could hear what was going on in the TBD TV studio.
Mike covered the Washington Redskins for TBD before moving to the Post to cover the same team. He writes a lot about quarterbacks. His TBDSkins blog covered the tumultuous year when Mike Shanahan replaced Donovan McNabb with Rex Grossman as Washington’s starting quarterback. This year he’s covering the Redskins debut of Robert Griffin III.
Maura sends along this update:
I started at the Washington Post in June 2011, after participating in an arts journalism fellowship with the National Endowment for the Arts at the University of Southern California. I’m a producer for the Style section, writing about art and culture for both the paper and the Style Blog. In May, I was pretty excited to land my first A-1 story, about an interactive mural that sprung up overnight on 14th Street. In the past year, I’ve examined gentrification in Baltimore, “interviewed” a baby pig, been hit on by a trio of magicians, participated in an art duel, and finally found a way that my extensive knowledge of competitive high school cheerleading could give me an advantage over other theater critics. I’m having a great time.
Maura showed her sense of humor in this launch-day tweet two years ago:
Sarah covered music for TBD, from Beatles tribute bands to porn-stars-turned-rappers (on the same day). Sarah’s not on the Post staff, but I included her here because she has been freelancing for the Post. She sends this update:
I’ve been freelancing, mostly for the Washington Post and the Washington City Paper. I put together an oral history of the classic go-go hit “Da Butt” for City Paper and Spike Lee read it! Well, tweeted it, but whatever. I’ve also been reviewing albums and mourning the loss of the Chuck Brown.
— Spike Lee (@SpikeLee) April 19, 2012
New York Times
Paul moved from being TBD’s managing editor to being the Times’ Deputy Political Editor, based in Washington. As Erik wrote in announcing Paul’s departure to the staff:
Paul has been everything to this organization. He has been the liaison to the tech team, liaison to the sports pod, liaison to the weather folks, liaison to special-event coverage planning, liaison to good, old-fashioned journalism, and liaison to steady, hard work.
I haven’t received an update from Paul yet (given all the political news these days, I suppose we should give him a pass). I’ll add one if I hear from him. Update: Paul added this in an email last night:
Those two years went fast, man! … As I have said to Jim on several occasions, it’s pretty amazing that all these talented people — who have gone on to great things — once worked together. Makes me wish we had been given a proper shot.
In the video below, Paul discussed the presidential campaign last year with reporter Jeff Zeleny (a colleague from my Des Moines Register days).
Dan was a member of the TBD community engagement team that I led, a group that will always be near to my heart. Among his memorable TBD projects were his Dating in DC series, the #Wheretheyserved interactive Veterans Day map, weekly live chats during Redskins games and, as he was headed out the door, the Marion Barry Photoshop Contest.
I provided an update on Dan after a visit to New York in June. But Dan sent along his own update:
My post-TBD career has been a lot like my time at TBD: tumultuous and a lot of fun. I was saved from the TBD wreckage by Philly.com, where I led the editorial side of a hyperlocal section that was originally conceived of as a mini-TBD. Eight months later I got an irresistible opportunity to lead social media and crowdsourcing efforts at ProPublica, which made New York the fourth city I could call home in under two years. That led to my current gig as a social media producer at The New York Times, where I work with brilliant people in a role that I love. I haven’t felt this much at home since TBD, and I really hope I can stick around here for quite a while.
Steve led the broadcast side of TBD. Much was made as the wheels were coming off about resistance to the TBD project by our TV colleagues at WJLA, the ABC affiliate whose separate website went away when TBD launched. But the TBD web staff and our TBD TV colleagues got along splendidly. The former NewsChannel 8 became TBD TV (for less than a year; when Allbritton bailed on the TBD concept, it quickly changed back to NewsChannel 8). We worked closely together, largely because of Steve’s leadership. Steve sends this update:
- I can’t believe it’s been 2 years. Seems like yesterday we were sitting in those long meetings on the 27th floor … kicking around ideas for a name.
After drifting for a while post-TBD, I landed back at CBS two months ago as the Executive Editor, Washington for CBSNews.com. I’m responsible for the day-to-day editorial coverage of politics and elections for the website and lead a team of six reporters and producers. I’m also working closely with my longtime colleagues on the TV side of CBS News as a liaison between the Washington Bureau correspondents/producers and CBSNews.com. In addition to directing our day-to-day coverage, I’m also charged with manning the Politics page, copy editing our reporters’ stories, and planning our coverage of future political stories as well as special political events including the conventions, the debates, this fall’s elections.
US News & World Report
No one was more important to TBD than Bageshri. She liked to operate behind the scenes, so she didn’t get as much credit as Jim, Erik, Steve and others of us. But everyone at TBD knew that Bageshri, our senior director, product management, pulled it all together. She tied together the work of the editorial, sales and tech teams into a successful launch and a product that would have succeeded if Allbritton had given us a chance. The night we pulled an all-nighter in pursuit of the Aug. 9 launch target, Bageshri had the master list of launch tasks and she kept us all on task. When we were toasting the launch with champagne early in the morning two years ago, she was the first one Jim mentioned, and everyone cheered. She is now general manager, autos, at U.S. News & World Report. She didn’t send an update. I knew she wouldn’t; she doesn’t do anything to draw attention to herself. Except make it all work.
Carol was Jim’s executive assistant. She did an incredible amount of work helping us smoothly interview and hire dozens of people and process them through HR. Lots of launch-related events worked smoothly because of Carol’s attention to detail. She moved on to NPR and didn’t send along an update.
Two of the #TBDiaspora joined Poynter, improving journalism’s best website about journalism. Another has freelanced for Poynter.
Jeff, whom Erik quickly nicknamed Sondo, was our senior community host and as TBD was breaking up, he served briefly as managing editor for TBD and the revived WJLA.com site. I could go on way too long about all Jeff’s contributions to TBD, but I’ll single out a couple things from his own blog: his excellent curation of the reaction when Allbritton cut the staff and his explanation of what our TBD name meant to him.
I said Jeff would excel at Poynter and he has, as Digital Media Fellow. His coverage of social and mobile media is must-reading for people working in digital media. Jeff remains based in the Washington area but sometimes goes down to St. Petersburg to teach in a Poynter seminar. He’s working with PolitiFact on a project to develop a new on-demand fact-checking mobile app, a project funded by the Knight Foundation. I enjoyed a June session at NPR when Jeff and PolitFact’s Bill Adair brought a group of people together for a hacking session to suggest features and functions for the app.
Andrew was entertainment editor for TBD and stayed around longer than other editors after things started breaking up. In addition to being a strong editor, Andrew was one of TBD’s hardest-hitting writers. I loved his analysis (with Erik) of Dan Snyder’s lawsuit against Washington City Paper (for which Erik and Andrew worked before joining TBD) and his review of Betsy Rothstein’s Twitter battles (Betsy’s and my exchanges have been pretty good-natured).
Andrew left TBD earlier this year to become a media reporter for Poynter:
I’m still working at Poynter, where I blog about the media, especially the points at which it intersects with bears, or money, or Jeff Sonderman. Still in Alexandria, but working from home and not riding my bike as much as I’d like. Via social media services, I still feel like connected to most of my TBD coworkers. TBD launched on my oldest son’s birthday, so I’ll always remember that day I bought everyone a nice Lego set.
When Mimi published her novel, Gathering String, earlier this year, Andrew noted some similarities to actual media situations.
Amanda blogged about sex and gender issues for TBD. I’m sure no one on our staff was a must-read for more people in Washington. I had lunch with a woman who had moved to Washington from Iowa and she said one of the first things friends told her when she moved in was that she had to read Amanda Hess.
Amanda had the misfortune of experiencing staff cuts at two places just over a year apart. After leaving TBD, she went to Los Angeles as Lifestyle Editor for GOOD magazine. Erik published her exit interview. The magazine, if you’ll pardon the pun, looked like a good match and a good opportunity for Amanda. But, like TBD, the good times didn’t last. The magazine fired its editorial staff in June. The staff members collaborated on a single-issue magazine they called Tomorrow.
Amanda is not on the Poynter staff, but I included her here on the strength of two outstanding freelance pieces for Poynter (on how the media and tech businesses view feminism differently and on why 88 percent of books reviewed by the New York Times are written by white authors). Amanda writes with authority and wit about gender issues. Someone should snap her up soon.
The Atlantic Cities
In an interview with Borderstan, Sommer spoke for a lot of us in saying why she joined TBD:
I couldn’t imagine an innovative, digital-first, well-funded local news outlet launching in DC and not being a part of it.
And she summarized well what happened:
There was just zero effort from the top to get the team at WJLA/ABC7 on board with what TBD had been aiming to be. That failure created all kinds of tension between two newsrooms that were theoretically supposed to be working together. When I look back at it now, we were doomed before we began.
We had an experienced digital advertising director who was pushed out the door before we even launched, due to similar tensions between her team and the existing TV ad sales people at WJLA and Channel 8. Those TV folks were great at selling WJLA, but didn’t know how to sell TBD.
But I’m updating here, not just looking back, so let’s include what Sommer told Borderstan about her Atlantic Cities gig:
Our aim is to be a go-to source for the urbanism nerds of the world, while at the same time offering up a steady stream of cities-related content that any intellectually curious reader would find of interest.
John joined TBD the fall after our launch, taking on the weather blog (and getting the nickname Hurricalfe). Washington City Paper declared him the best DC weather blogger, praising such deft passages as “scrotum-tightening event known in astrological circles as an Extreme SuperMoon” and “For the rest of the week, the warm clamminess of the air will gradually turn into unpleasantly cold vapor, like the breath of a yeti.” When the WJLA website was revived in early 2011, John’s weather blog was one of the first things poached from TBD.
HuffPo was the landing place of three TBD staffers. I’ve already mentioned Mandy Jenkins, who spent nearly a year at HuffPost Politics before joining Digital First.
Dave started out with our OnFoot blog, which was going to cover pedestrian issues in the Washington area. That became a general transportation beat, with probably more coverage of the Metro system than pedestrians. I had the desk next to Dave’s and could see the amazing pace he worked. I still use his account of the commute from hell on Jan. 26, 2011, (it took me nine hours to get home that night) as an example in workshops. He also made one of the more clever uses I’ve seen of a poll in a story.
Dave sent this update (and a new photo) after I originally posted this:
I’ve been at the Huffington Post for a year and four months. My title is “workplace reporter,” which is about as wide-open as it sounds. I can write about pretty much anything that deals with what people do for a living, though I tend to focus on wages and safety, particularly in low-wage jobs. I’ve got a great boss who encourages me to do deep-dive stories, and the gig has taken me to some places I wouldn’t have been otherwise: eastern Kentucky; Indianapolis; Joliet, Ill.; Augusta, Ga.; and Southern California, among others. I feel lucky to be at a news organization that encourages me to do the kinds of stories I like to do. Here’s a link to all my stuff.
I include Sara here because HuffPo was her first stop after TBD, but as her update below tells, she has a new gig:
TBD was my first job. Like a first love, I owe a lot to TBD and will never forget it and the people who helped shape me there professionally – ahem, Steve Chaggaris. I started two weeks shy of my official graduation from Northwestern University (I flew back to Chicago to receive my diploma) as a eager new segment producer. I left just like you might leave at the end of your first heartbreak – a little shocked and disheartened but also much better prepared; wiser and with tougher skin.I then joined The Huffington Post’s D.C. bureau alongside my fellow TBD colleagues Dave Jamieson and Mandy Jenkins. I was their inaugural and sole video producer for the entirety of my time there — over a year; helping shape their original political video coverage. And as time went on there, my heartbreak mended until I was ready to put myself on the line again. I started last week as a video producer for a new full-fledged startup (HuffPost had already been bought out by AOL when I joined), this time in NYC. While I know startups are a risk (I’ve experienced that heartbreak), I know that without jumping in again, I’ll never know how ridiculously rewarding they can be as well.
Though she provided excellent neighborhood coverage, including a key role in our coverage of the Discovery Channel hostage crisis, Elahe might have been best known on the staff as our only real professional comedian. The rest of us just thought we were funny.
Elahe sends this update:
After TBD, I went to WAMU 88.5., the NPR member station in Washington, D.C. I eventually ran DCentric.org, an NPR Project Argo blog at the station focused on issues of race and class. I aggregated and produced original reporting, including an in-depth series on D.C.’s unemployment divide. Funding for DCentric, which was supported by a Corporation for Public Broadcasting grant, came to an end this summer, and I left the station in May to join National Journal. I’m part of a team behind the expansion of Influence Alley, previously a lobbying-focused blog that is now a free, microsite covering K Street to Congress. While I do my fair share of serious stories for the site, I’m excited to be able to incorporate humor and my voice into my work. I’m also regularly performing standup comedy on the side.
After leading our coverage of the 2009 mayor’s race, Sarah handled TBD’s Justice blog. She took a great approach to covering the trial of Ingmar Guandique in the murder of Chandra Levy (the intern who became famous because of her disappearance and her relationship with Rep. Gary Condit). Sarah watched the jurors each day and noted their reactions in an interactive graphic created by Chris Buddie.
Sarah joined ESPN’s Grantland project. She said she didn’t have much of an update, except to say, “Still editing at Grantland, which has been a ton of fun.”
I expanded a bit on her update with a little browsing. In an echo of her Levy-trial coverage, she wrote about sleeping jurors in the Roger Clemens trial. And her choice of Eli Manning as the best marriage prospect among NFL quarterbacks drew a bit of buzz.
Jay was our only full-time photojournalist and produced an amazing amount of outstanding photo projects. He moved across the newsroom to our Allbritton sibling site, Politico. He sends along this update:
Things are going really well for me, both professionally and personally. I’ve been at Politico now since getting the boot from TBD, so 1 1/2 years now. I really like it there, I was able to bring my style and vision to a new realm and it’s been a good fit.I really appreciate their attitude about ideas; if you have an idea and you think you can pull it off, they let you do it. Such as my GOP freshman project. In April we published a project I worked on with reporter Kate Nocera. I interviewed and shot portraits of 5 GOP freshman members of Congress. Kate did some more reporting and wrote it up. It came out beautifully and I got to flex my reporting skills a little. It got great play and was well received by the top brass. It was great to see it through and it turned out better than I had hoped.I’m currently working on a similar project with 6 retiring members of Congress. So far I’ve shot and interviewed Lynn Woolsey, Heath Shuler, David Dreier, Barney Frank and Ron Paul. I’m trying to get LaTourrette next to round it out. Look for that to run in Politico in the fall after the conventions. (Both of which I’ll be going to).Personally, life has been great! I got engaged on June 19th to my girlfriend of 2+ years, Madeline Marshall. You can watch the proposal here. We’ve set a date of Sept. 14, 2013 for the wedding and are in the midst of wedding planning. Also, I’ve fully recovered from the hip surgery I had last summer and have resumed training and racing my bicycle. TBD was a great experience that I am very thankful for. Everybody there just gelled really well together. The editors, writers, community engagement team, everybody. It was a special place to be. I can’t believe it’s been two years since the launch. In my first or second week there, I live-tweeted pics from the Ward 4 DC Mayoral candidate forum, and I knew then that I made the right call going to TBD. I mean, who did that then? Nobody but us. Not the Post, not the Times. I think it might have been way ahead of its time. I think it might take an established new organization in a mid-to-large market (say, a Austin American-Statesman or a Columbus Dispatch) to go completely digital-only before people really catch on. And even then I still believe they’d probably need a Sunday edition to stay above water for a bit. I’d love to see news on the iPad or tablets take off, it’s such a great platform. There are so many things you can do with it; video, slideshows, long-form, multi-segment storytelling, expandable content, you name it. I firmly believe that having a sound digital platform that involves all facets of news gathering and that isn’t afraid to try new things is the way to go and will be what it takes to survive in the future.
Kevin ran TBD’s Facts Machine (a loved-but-rejected name for that fact-checking blog was What the Fact?). Like most fact-checking projects, Kevin focused mostly on politics, but he also had some fun live-fact-checking the football commentary of Redskins legends Sonny Jurgensen and Sam Huff, famed more for their football play than for their broadcasting.
Kevin also moved across the newsroom to join our Politico colleagues. He is an editorial assistant who works on The Huddle and Playbook (the daily email from Mike Allen, a Politico icon who was a great supporter of TBD. Mike works insane hours and was actually present in the early-morning hours when TBD launched). Kevin has written recently about Rush Limbaugh and Jared Loughner. Update: Ryan Kearney tells me Kevin is now a reporter on the Politico breaking news team (might want to update that Politico profile, Kevin).
When TBD launched, we got lots of praise for our innovative design. Credit for the design goes to Chris Buddie, who had the desk facing mine for the period leading up to our launch. After launch, Chris moved to offices across the street, working with our developers and splitting his time between TBD and Politico. He still works for Politico.
Ryan was TBD’s film writer before the staff cuts and then came back as news editor. Ryan took a cardboard cutout of former Washington School Superintendent Michelle Rhee to the Sundance Film Festival. He also led our coverage of Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity, and even got a shoutout from Stewart, who thought his writing was funny (it was).
Now Ryan is Politico’s deputy breaking news editor.
Update: Ryan tells me he and Kevin sit next to each other. “Rarely a day passes without a TBD joke. Or lament.”
Mitch was our research director, educating us in the finer points of digital analytics and search-engine optimization. Mitch would monitor Google searching trends and tell us of the best words to use in a headline (if appropriate) to deliver the best search results. His LinkedIn and Facebook profiles say he’s now the Director of Search and Analytics for Politico.
Still in DC local news
Before Elahe moved to National Journal, we had three TBD alums working at the website of WAMU, Washington’s public radio station.
Rebecca covered the Arlington neighborhoods reporter for TBD, handling such stories as unruly newspaper boxes and power outages (a bigger story in the Washington area than in other communities where I’ve worked). Her presence in the newsroom created a bit of confusion because she has the same name as a WJLA reporter who sat near the TBD desks.
Rebecca sent this update after I originally posted this:
At WAMU, I’m anchoring the morning drive on WAMU.org and working on special projects such as American Graduate and this attempt to map all the abandoned bikes in D.C. In my spare time, I’m the Neighborhood Eats columnist for DC UrbanTurf and a freelance food writer for Arlington Magazine. Oh, and I also got a puppy. Her name is Leia (like the princess) and she is the coolest.Recent pieces include:
Nathasha provided a mouth-watering daily roundup about dining in the Washington area and generated profiles of area restaurants and chats with chefs. I am sure her regular updates on truck-related news and cupcakes did not help my efforts to control my waistline.
Nathasha also joined WAMU as a morning producer.
She’s out of the country and promised an update when she can get a reliable Internet connection. But in a quick email she told me: “Things have been busy at WAMU 88.5, but all is well!” She sent this update after I initially posted this:
After I left TBD in April 2011, I started working at WAMU 88.5 News and have been there since. I’m the weekend news producer, usually covering the Thursday to Monday day shifts.We launched a new website last September, which has kept us pretty busy this past year. In addition to covering the weekend news, I also digitally produce Metro Connection, a weekly show covering current events, culture and people in the Washington, D.C. area. I also work with our reporters on features and series. One of our latest projects was a series about children and teens living with HIV in D.C.
Washington City Paper
Ally maintained and updated TBD’s prodigious listings of events in the metro area. She sends along this update:
Since I left TBD in March 2011, I’ve been one of two arts editors at the Washington City Paper — properly, I’m the City Lights editor. I co-edit the Arts Desk blog, help run our daily newsletter, report breaking news, report not-so-breaking news, and chime in whenever something in the A&E world requires a good mocking (about once every couple of weeks).Recently I wrote a feature on the literally underground music venue Subterranean A, which was a total anomaly in the District: a DIY space operating out of an affordable-housing complex right in the middle of one of the city’s most rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods. Somehow, it took a while for the cops to care that they were there. But when they took notice, things began to fall apart.I covered the reopening of the historic, city-owned Howard Theatre, and co-wrote a piece on, well, how not to screw it up. I’ve been reporting on the big changes happening at the District’s other performing-arts house (yes, the city owns two of them), the Lincoln Theatre. I wrote a retrospective on Run for Cover, a 10-year old cover night and minor institution at the Black Cat, which may have just taken its final breath. But my most infamous piece of writing at City Paper is probably my critical essay about Thievery Corporation, D.C.’s dons of jetsetter cool. The commenters had a field day with that one.Right now, I’m supervising a story about a punk-rock cat and writing a feature related to the Burning Man Festival in Nevada. Never thought I’d be doing this kind of thing as a career, but the path to enlightenment is a strange one.
Jenny had never tweeted when she came to TBD. After some good-natured tweets from her new colleagues building attention and suspense, she got rolling and has now tweeted more than 3,000 times. She was our lists reporter and then covered grocery shopping. I especially loved her lists about the Redskins’ meager rushing performance and why pandas aren’t lovable and panda mating rituals. Jenny sends this update:
Since February, I’ve been one of two gossip columnists at the Washington Examiner. (We use the word “gossip” pretty loosely–it’s more like “reported tidbits.”) I write on the lighter side of D.C. and national politics, plus parties, red carpets, and when famous people come to town. Writing for print and worrying about word counts is very odd after working for TBD.This is pretty typical of what I do:
SB Nation DC and NBC Washington
He sent this update:
I left TBD at the end of March in 2011, well after almost everyone else on the original staff had done so. After a few weeks, I approached Mike Prada and John Taylor (now at the Washington Post) about doing work for SB Nation DC. I took a spot as the site’s D.C. United editor for the 2011 season.A fter the MLS season, Mike shifted me onto the college basketball beat, where I covered Georgetown, George Mason, George Washington, and American Universities for the 2011-12 season. Then, in February of this year, Mike handed me the reins as Senior Editor of SB Nation DC, as he moved on to concentrate on being SB Nation’s NBA Editor (I continue to cover college basketball for the site).In addition, I serve as the weekend editor for the website of NBC’s Washington affiliate, a job for which I was hired by the site’s managing editor Jim Iovino, whom I got to know quite well covering Capitals games for TBD. I feel very lucky to have landed at two places that employ wonderful, talented, hungry people, and to have done so without having to leave the DC area, where I’ve come to enjoy living. I still keep up with my fellow members of the Diaspora as best I can, since quite a few have scattered to the four winds, and it’s always good to see them when they return to town.My Recent Work:
Lots of other destinations
Whitney was the experienced digital advertising director Sommer mentioned in her Borderstan interview. She was one of the five leaders in place when I arrived in February 2010 to start planning the launch. I gained confidence in our prospects the day I met Whitney and lost confidence the day I learned of the coup that caused her to leave, something like three weeks before we launched. No one can say what would have happened if we had pursued Whitney’s digital sales approach, but the results without our own digital sales team were pretty clear.
Lisa was a delightful member of the community engagement team. She’s so polite she always raised her hand when she wanted to speak in team meetings, even when I teased her and urged her to just speak up. The excelled on lots of TBD projects, including our Ugly Holiday Sweater Contest and Metro Grade.
Lisa is this week’s FishbowlDC interview (I was the target of the worst thing she’d ever said to a boss), so her answers there provide a good catch-up. But Lisa also responded to my call for an update:
So hard to believe it’s been two years. Being an independent worker bee has its perks, and I’ve particularly enjoyed working with nonprofits to boost their work through blogging and social media. One of my favorites, Goodwill of Greater Washington, even pulled me out of bed at a very early hour last week to appear on FOX 5 with its team. And I’m still selling vintage clothing, like I planned upon my TBD exit—but I’ve been leaning toward creative ways to do business rather than a pricey storefront. But I’d be a huge liar if I didn’t admit that I miss working at the team we had at TBD. “Doing the news,” as a few of our editors would say, was exciting every single day. I still raise my hand during meetings, though. Old habits…
Dan led our aggregation team. He sends this update:
Since TBD I have moved into the exciting realm of being a technology reporter. I left TBD and went to 1105 Media (Government Computer News, Federal Computer Week) where I wrote about government use of information technology, most specifically how the government has been adapting to the smartphone revolution. Ah, but the life of reporting about federal IT was not the life for me.I left Government Computer News for ReadWriteWeb where I have covered all aspects of technology for the last year and a half or so. Specifically, I am the lead mobile reporter covering anything and everything about mobile technology. Since mobile is cutting across every industry in every way, I am a very busy reporter. From patent battles to apps galore to cloud technology. There is no shortage of coverage in mobile. It has actually been a good career move for me as somebody considered a mobile expert will be in demand over the next five to 10 years as the mobile revolution evolves.I entered journalism to be a sports reporter and after I left TBD I continued to write sports for WeLoveDC, a member of our blog network. Was credentialed for the Nats, Caps and Wizards. Alas, covering sports freelance could not last with zero money behind it.I moved from DC back to Boston and work from home on the technology beat. But, friends from WeLoveDC have inspired us and friend of mine that lived in DC and I are expanding the WeLove brand to Boston. In September we will launch WeLoveBeantown and I will assume the role of co-founder and managing editor. Or editor in chief. Or, I don’t know. We have not figured a formal title. It is a side job but hopefully we can make a site as worthy as that in DC.So, yes. It has been busy.A couple of articles for you:
Elliot joined the community engagement team not long before the wheels started falling off. He aggregated content from our blog network and other media efficiently and with a deft touch. After working a couple of other post-TBD jobs, Elliot has just accepted a job with Wieden+Kennedy in Portland, Ore., where he’ll be a community manager, doing “doing audience outreach, social media strategy, and educating folks on platforms,” he told me in a direct message last weekend.
Maya, a TBD aggregation editor, sends along this update:
I’m actually still employed at Clear Channel radio working as the executive assistant to the president assisting her with numerous projects. Since my arrival to the company, somehow, I found my way to the Public Affairs department assisting the Public Affairs Director, and now I fill in as a host from time to time. I admit I certainly miss the adrenaline rush I got when writing and editing on deadline, but while I’m here, I’m going to continue to take advantage of every opportunity.
Nicole sent this update after I originally posted:
I’ve been a bit out of the journalism game since TBD and I do miss it. I’m currently a trainer for the LUSH, an handmade soap and cosmetics company out of the UK, getting to travel the U.S. and Canada. I was working there part-time while aggregating and just dove in after leaving TBD. Don’t worry, I’m still beating girls silly in roller derby and am skating with the DC Rollergirls.
Heather went from TBD to the mission field, working the last school year as an English and history teacher (and giving violin lessons) at Vida Abundante (Abundant Life) school in La Union Honduras. She explains her plans for the upcoming year in a recent letter to friends:
During this year, I also have been volunteering with a microfinance and community development organization based in La Union. (Here’s where next year comes in!) At the end of the summer, I plan to return to La Union to work full time with the organization as their media coordinator. Union MicroFinanza (UMF) works with people in La Union and the surrounding communities to connect them with resources, provide training and education, build relationships with churches and other groups in the U.S., and support development projects. Much of their work is with local coffee farmers, helping them improve the quality of the coffee they plant and offering ways to harvest and process their coffee without going into debt. I’ll help connect people in the U.S. with people in Honduras – through blogs, photos, newsletters, videos and social media – to foster relationships, offer matters for prayer, and share how the community is growing. I also plan to volunteer at the school during the next school year, and continue with English and violin lessons as I build relationships in the community — I look forward to seeing how God will touch lives!
Heather needs to raise some money to support her work during the coming year. You can donate using PayPal.
Rosemary was one of three American University interns who worked for TBD the spring of 2011, when the job cuts came. As the staff diminished, the interns’ role grew. They did a great job taking over the Metro Report Card and The List.
I recently graduated from American University with my M.A. in International Media, where my research culminated in a case study on social media and citizen security in Mexico, tracking information flows between local news organizations and citizens to see how information on drug cartels could be shared more effectively. I’m currently working as a research associate at the Center for International Media Assistance. At CIMA, I’m also assisting in the research and development of a mapping application to track digital media penetration around the world.
I didn’t get updates from the other TBD interns — Chandler Clay and Sara Cough from AU and John Thomas from Middle Tennessee State University (I’ll add the updates if you sent them along, folks).
Update: When I first posted this, I did not identify Rebecca in the Huffington Post happy hour photo above. Andrew Beaujon sent this identification and update on her:
Rebecca worked at TBD/JLA as special projects editor after you left. She’s now a Web specialist at the Altarum Institute and is working on a grief memoir. It’s not about TBD.
Still at News Channel 8 & WJLA
Affectionately known as MoJo to his colleagues, Morris anchored a 4:30 p.m. show that covered trends in the news and on social media. Several TBD web staff members appeared on his show, as well as some of our community bloggers. He is still an anchor at News Channel 8, the cable news station that took on the TBD name for less than a year. I’m personally jealous of MoJo because he has an IMDb entry. He sent along this update:
I miss the 4:30 trending show and all the bright, eager staff that we had during the TBD days. The trending show brought in great community partners and national guests–we had Margaret Cho during the height of her Dancing With The Stars appearance. The late great Godfather of go-go Chuck Brown was on the show. Also Grammy nominee and local artist Carolyn Malachi. We broke news and spotlighted trends. I was so proud of all our writers and video producers who became on-air reporters during that time. Now we’re live news in the afternoons and evenings. I’m anchoring four and a half hours every day.
Bruce‘s daily “News Talk” show was a staple of TBD TV and provided regular web content as well. My only appearance on TV during my TBD run was on Bruce’s show (though I can’t recall what the topic was). The show continues on News Channel 8.
Katherine was morning anchor for TBD and remains in that position at News Channel 8.
Justin joined TBD as an aggregation editor and is the only web person from TBD still there. He sent this update (after I initially posted this):
Since the dispersal of TBD, I haven’t left. I quickly shifted over to the web desk at the newly formed WJLA.com and was a major part of laying the ground floor for the way we work with the newsroom, interface with reporters, crowdsource and use social media to expand the ABC 7 brand.
In the 18 months I’ve been here, I’ve been promoted twice and have been serving as the Digital Operations Manager for WJLA and NewsChannel 8, a newly-created position that I assumed about six weeks ago. In this role, our Managing Editor and I oversee the day-to-day operations of our sites, including the exponential growth in both social media outreach and traffic for ABC 7. In my specific role, I explore new ways to not only gather and distribute news, but also new ways for our audience to participate in the process.
In the meantime, I also (along with my girlfriend) managed to see all 30 Major League Baseball teams play during the 2011 season, visiting 15 ballparks across the country and the Baseball Hall of Fame to do so. So that was pretty fun.
As a grad student at Maryland, Justin drew our attention with this tweet during the Discovery coverage:
@tbd is having their CNN/Gulf War moment right now. They’re dominating coverage right now. Kudos.
— Justin Karp (@jskarp) September 1, 2010
More to come, I hope
If you’re a member of the #TBDiaspora, and I didn’t reach you to ask for an update, or if you just haven’t sent it in yet, please send an update and a mug shot and I’ll use them here.
TBD was an extraordinary experience with an extraordinary team, and I want to catch up with everyone. They have a lot more to contribute to journalism.