The Solomon Scandals
The D.C. newspaper novel, the media,the Washington area, tech and other surrealism: David Rothman at large
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Twitter has been abuzz with talk about The Price of Typos. Here’s the angle in the essay that most intrigues me:  the possible differences in the particular literary gifts of good and rotten spellers. On the New York Times site, Virginia Heffernan says: “A writer with a mind that doesn’t register how words are spelled […]

Something bizarre is happening at Politics and Prose, and perhaps a few other bookstores in the Washington area—and therein may lie a lesson for the Washington Post. These booksellers are prospering, even as many others across the nation are closing or cutting back. Sales at Politics and Prose have zoomed from $3 million two years […]

In the middle of the Great Library Debates raging on the Atlantic site and elsewhere, I had to neglect something. But now here’s my take on the departure of Jim Brady as general manager of the TBD hyperlocal news site. Brady wanted a mix of linking and original reporting, but as I see it, TBD […]

So what’s “close”—the word that a TBD headline used in describing the Washington Post’s hyperlocal launch”? Psst! A Post source tells me he expects the launch to happen in the “late spring.” No, we’re not talking about a janitor in the newsroom. Ideally the Post can go public with a few more details to get […]

Update, 7 p.m.: Looks as if "close" is late spring 2011. – D.R. I hated the Washington Post’s hyperlocal edition for Loudoun County, Virginia. From multimillionaire horse-breeders to soccer moms, Loudoun is a whole series of communities—a point lost on the edition’s creators. Lumping the county’s hamlets and subdivisions into a single mishmash without decent […]

Congratulations to TBD.com and sex-and-gender blogger Amanda Hess, who owned up to the goof of the century or at least of the year. In sharing an HIV-related statistic, Ms. Hess meant to write about men having sex with men. She dropped the “n” in the last word. You can read more details via TBD, MediaGazer, […]

TBD.com’s hyperlocal site is drawing more local Web traffic than WUSA-TV and the Washington Examiner and may close in on the Washington Times and Fox’s D.C. outlet—-if you go by area Web statistics from a major measurement service, Experian Hitwise . But in local audience size, TBD is a long way from threatening the online […]

Update, September 20: The Washington Post tells me that it prefers to stick to Nielsen statistics in public. I’m checking to see how easily available the stats are to the world at large, and if Nielsen can share any server-based numbers from the Post. I’ll also do other follow-up. – D.R. Should news sites hide […]

Right here in the Washington, D.C. area, TBD is one of the most-watched rolls of the dice in American journalism. TBD stands for “To Be Determined,” a hyper-logical way to cover the news and run a site. Here’s to follow-ups, of which the American press does far too few, especially on grubby local stories! I’m […]

TBD’s new hyperlocal Web site for the D.C. area is no great shakes so far in the visitor count department, but it’s too early to pass judgment. That’s what I wrote last month. Well, TBD is still a long way from seriously threatening the Washington Post’s  local supremacy after just a few weeks, but as […]

Late to the hyperlocal series in the Solomon Scandals blog? In reverse order, here’s a list of key parts. —How hyperlocal journalism can help big media grow closer to local communities, just posted today. —TBD D.C.-area news site not a steady riser in early Alexa stats. But let’s wait for the full story. —Crisp, lively […]

Update: Other hyperlocal-related posts here. I killed my Washington Post subscription several years ago, one of millions of Americans to give up on printed newspapers. My Reason #1 was the trash factor. But many readers have other, less friendly explanations. More than a few trust the press about as much as they do HMOs, banks […]

I’ve been rooting for TBD, the D.C.-area hyperlocal news site that some journalists regard as a savvy canary in the coal mine. Will frequent updates and a link-heavy neighborhood–by-neighborhood approach, tied in with local bloggers, be the future of metropolitan news? I really hope this experiment works, just as I wish success to other hyperlocals […]

Here’s a question that the debut of TBD.com, the new hyperlocal site written up in Howard Kurtz’s media column today, makes all the more timely. Just when should a reputable Web site—or maybe even a paper newspaper—publish rumors? TBD’s people have expressed a strong interest in guiding readers to the truth; and the operation is […]

Crisp, lively Web pages are greeting visitors to the new TBD hyperlocal site owned by Allbritton Communications. Here in Alexandria, VA, I hate the D.C.-centric lead story, but I’ll get to that in a moment—and remember, TBD has just fired up. In the wake of the launch today, I’m more upbeat than ever about this […]

The TBD.com hyperlocal site for the Washington area went live this morning, and I’ll be updating some analysis I was about to publish here. Stay tuned for the analysis in the next hour or two. Update: Here it is. Some live chat at TBD.com is scheduled to help introduce the community to the site.  It’’ll […]

In judo, you can use a big guy’s weight against him, and the same applies in business, especially the news kind. Reading the Washington Post story on the TBD local news startup—which will compete against the Post, AOL’s Patch local network and the Washington Examiner—I couldn’t help but think “judo.” This morning TBD is reaping […]

The Patch neighborhood news network—the screenshot’s from a New Jersey site—is coming soon to some Virginia and Maryland suburbs. Yet another sign that the Washington Post needs to get more serious about hyperlocal? And how about the growth of another hyperlocal network, Examiner.com? Or the latest book on the Post, which, although a “valentine” on […]

A little birdie with tiny rabbit ears growing out of its head—an older cousin of the Twitter mascot—tells me that the new TBD blog network is encouraging members to get Skype video going. Then the bloggers can appear on TBD cable TV, not just online, at the request of the news gods. No, the Skype […]

Update, July 19: This should probably be online by 7 p.m. Eastern Daylight tonight. Lots to say! – D.R. Hey, did you think I’d stop at How TBD could use hyperlocal journalism to kick the Washington Post’s butt? The strategy ideas for the Post will appear here over the weekend or on Monday. The same […]

How will TBD.com, the Web news startup in the D.C. area, work with the more than 90 independent bloggers in its network? The TBD blog has some details, although I don’t notice any huge surprises, just good common sense in the post by Community Engagement Director Steve Buttry. For example: “We will provide headlines and […]

Newest member of the TBD blog network in the Washington area is is none other than the Georgetown Dish. It’s the same hyperlocal site I’ve been mentioning for some months now because of the fame of the neighborhood and the lively writing—and, yes, a founder named Beth Solomon. Georgetown is home to ex-Washington Post editor […]

You already know if you’ve been following the Solomon Scandals blog. My name is David, I’m a newsaholic, and I’m cheering for the TBD news startup to thrive here in the Washington area. But will topics like sports and food elbow aside civic matters at times because of the personal passions of TBD’s affiliate bloggers? […]

Update, July 2: Here, including further comments from TBD. Thanks for listening. – D.R. The TBD Web startup for local news in the D.C. area has added Allergy Life in Loudoun, U Street Girl, Rockville Central and other blogs, pushing the number of network affiliates past 70. But I’m still not yet seeing enough commitment […]