By David M. Greenwald
It is year 15 of the Vanguard. As most of my long-term readers know, we have undergone tremendous growth and change. When I started this in 2006, we were on free blogger software, it was me working out of my home—I wrote the articles, published them, and went back to sleep for a few hours.
Some changes came quickly—some changes came slowly over time. Even before we headed into the pandemic, the nature of the Vanguard had evolved. But since March 2020, we have undergone rapid, explosive growth.
In the fall it was the Vanguard at UC Davis, this week we launched our Berkeley and Los Angeles projects, we expanded our San Francisco Project, we have our COVID Behind Bars, SB 1437 and a Wrongful Convictions project. And now… maybe, San Diego.
Since the power came back on, for whatever reason, it has been non-stop—web meetings, podcasts, webinars, trainings, presentations, check-ins with our dozens of interns, meetings with our teams across the state.
Someone asked us to cover a press conference—in person at the Capitol last week—and I realized I couldn’t do it. Couldn’t cancel everything to get out of the office for a few hours. Didn’t have anyone to do it either.
I am no longer a reporter—I’m an editor, manager, perhaps publisher and business person. We have to change our structure. The great news is that this was a realization, but not really a shocking change.
So for me that means… less first-hand reporting, more focus on analysis and commentary.
It means we will in the short-term have some freelancers and in the longer-term hire a reporter to cover regional needs.
I also realized this weekend, as much as I enjoy sparring with the other commenters, I can’t do it anymore. Too much time, too much going on. So I will step back from doing that. Might post updates or clarifications to the story, but the everyday engagement is going to have to go.
Finally, I was looking at the articles generating a lot of comments and, once again, saw a small group of people posting a lot of comments—most of them meandered quickly off topic and lacked a ton of substance.
So, starting this week, we are going to go back to implementing a limitation on comments per article—five comments per article per commenter. Of course, with nearly 20 articles today, that is still 100 comments per person a day. But we have to start somewhere. People keep pointing out that no one wants to wade into the arena if they see 20 comments by five people barking at each other.
We are also in the preliminary stages of looking at new web designs—designs that allow people to find the content that they want much more easily while opening up the site to a far broader audience.
A lot more changes are coming. We will see how these work.
Thanks for reading.
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