300 & Counting. A2P Becomes A2P, et. al.
A2Politico recently posted its 300th entry since the blog’s August 2009 launch. It was the interview with Ted Annis about the work of the A2P2 group against outsourcing the operations of Huron Hills Golf Course. I’ve had lots of help along the way. Folks in city government leak tips and information, folks outside of city government help me with research. I have my very own Bat Phone. When I’m writing and need to know how much the city is frittering away on, say, consultants, I can pick up the phone and get the answer. For the most part, however, I’ve written all of the entries that have been posted to this blog.
My favorite part of writing is, actually, thinking up the titles. Here some a couple of my all-time favs.:
I was surfing the Web the other day, and found that the highly-respected Container Research Institute is linking to two of the entries I wrote about the ecologically regressive move to single-stream recycling as reference material. I’ll write more about that in a future entry. That brings me to the subject of this entry.
I speak Italian, French, Spanish and even a little German. I taught myself to read Hebrew (Before you think I’m a linguistic idiot savant, Hebrew is phonetic. Learn the alphabet and off you go. For more details, ask someone else. I’m busy, B’seder?). I also speak Republican very well, as well as Democratic and a dialect of progressive that makes it extremely easy to lampoon those who speak fauxgressive (fauxgressive be pigeon progressive, Mon).
A2Politico welcomes the comments of those with differing viewpoints (as long as the comments are civil), not to mention corrections. As regular readers will have divined by now, only A2Politico gets to be snarky. I’m under the impression from @A2Politico tweets that this bothers @Vielmetti. That’s ok. It bothers me that Ed’s talent is frittered away on Big Box media. This “play nice” rule made the copycat Arborblagher cry and, so far as I can see, quit blogging. That’s ok, too. That blog hosted a whopping 40 readers in the month of January 2011.
A2Politico got me a great gig with the Huffington Post covering the races in the Michigan 1st and 15th U.S. Congressional Districts. My entries made the front page of the HuffPost several times. That was amazing. Unlike the HuffPost, A2Politico has just slightly fewer than 40,000,000 visitors each month. However, I recently hired the phone survey company that does market penetration research for AnnArbor.com, and expect soon to announce that A2Politico reaches something like 95 percent of all 370,000 Washtenaw County residents. It’s either that, or we’ll discover that Washtenaw County Clerk Lawrence Kestenbaum visits the site 370,000 times per month. (Larry, I be just messin’ witcha, Mon.)
We’ll also discover that absolutely no one on Ann Arbor City Council reads A2Politico. Ever. Only people in city government in Portland, Seattle, Madison, Berkeley, Los Angeles, New York City, Detroit, Grand Rapids, and dozens of others cities read A2Politico.
It was recently brought to my attention that someone in Ann Arbor City government ordered A2Politico be censored by city web servers, and that city staff find this somewhat inconvenient. The city’s Director of Public Services went so far as to have an assistant send along a request for a copy of a recent A2P entry as an attachment (sent it along promptly and received a polite thank you). City Administrator Roger Fraser’s second-in-command, Sue McCormick just wanted to take a peek at A2P. She’s in good company.
One of the most amazing things that is happening is that the content of A2Politico appears with regularity in the comments left by readers of AnnArbor.com. It’s crazy cool to read what I write recycled as comments on the posts over there. Sometimes, it’s a little like that party game “telephone,” other times people just copy and paste.
Someone said to me today that A2Politico is, really, a taste of a truly free press here in Ann Arbor, and that’s why is has so enraged local politicos (unaccustomed to the scrutiny), and offended the delicate sensibilities of local media types. In a small town, with a limited pool of advertisers, asking nosy questions about conflicts of interest, sweetheart deals and no bid contracts can really rock the boat. In some countries, such writing an get the writer knee-capped. However, this is the Midwest. No one is knee-capping anyone. People just smile to your face and talk about you behind you back.
I am a huge fan of VoiceofSanDiego.org. One of the beats at VOSD.org is the “fact check” beat. Reporters at the paper actually fact check the claims of local politicos, as well as the local newspaper’s editorials. They recently awarded their 2010 Whopper of the Year Award to the City Council President. VOSD.org produces daily news that is incredibly well-researched and well-written hyper-local journalism. VOSD.org’s reporters are award-winners, and the site is funded by grants from foundations, such as the Knight-Wallace Foundation. It’s substantial online journalism that makes what we have here in Ann Arbor look like a 98 pound weakling.
I’m not prepared to leave the job I already have as the Publisher of a national higher education publishing group to launch a daily newspaper, or a nonprofit site like VOSD.org. The company I lead will celebrate 20 years in business next year. On the other hand, I’ve thought about it, and have come to the conclusion that the rapid and organic growth of A2Politico is a sign that there is an intense and growing interest in the kind of writing A2Politico offers. That interest is much more widespread than I ever expected it to be, but that’s just a plus. This 17 month old blog about local politics is read regularly by people in the Michigan legislature, U.S. Senate, U.S. House, DCCC, the NRCC and national media such as NPR, The New York Times and The National Review.
I really enjoy writing A2Politico. However, I’m pleased to announce that beginning in a few days, you’re going to get the first taste of ten new voices. In January 2011, A2P served up the most pages and hosted the most visits ever. I’m betting well-written, intelligent, independent writing on an expanded variety of subjects will find an even wider audience. For example? In February you’ll find posts filed under the category “Into the Maelstrom.” Those blog entries will be written by a student in the Ann Arbor Public Schools. Wonder what the hell your tight-lipped kids really do at school all day? Wonder no more. You’ll get a full report twice monthly.
I don’t want to give away the other new subjects that A2Politico will cover until they debut, but let me just say that A2P’s “Culture Vulture,” “Developmental Education” and “Urban Hunter” writers are going to knock your socks off, to split an infinitive.
Finally, I want to encourage readers to register. Your password will be automatically generated and sent to the email address you used when creating your registration.
Short URL: http://www.a2politico.com/?p=5684