I used to post here fairly frequently. I basically quit posting on this blog in early 2012.
Then I focused on tumblr for a couple of years. I stopped posting there in November of 2014. (All of those posts have now been imported to this site.)
Starting this week, I’m firing this site back up.
There’s a lot to discuss.
This is going to be fun. Or at least therapeutic.
We’ll be talking about what it’s been like to work at The Orange County Register over the last three or four years, what we’ve been up to in our newsroom and how we built a stealthy digital strategy with old computers, older servers and an online team that basically had to be built from scratch.
That’s how you do it when you have no budget and are trying to put Humpty Dumpty back together again after a previous publisher decided to focus solely on print.
It’s a web strategy that didn’t happen quickly or easily. It’s also not obvious. Some of the stuff we’ll talk about has been in the works for almost 18 months. And some of it was done in just a few hours.
We built more than a few things on The Register’s site using tools meant to do something completely different. We also built the most-important Big-J sites I’ve ever been a part of. Some of the things we did were funny and quirky. And, we built some really huge things.
I started building newspaper websites 20 years ago. I remember being blown away after seeing the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Black Hawk Down site in 1997. I wanted to figure out how to do that.
In those early years of online journalism, you’d get these cool glimpses of how computers and the web were going to not only help us tell stories better, but also interact with folks in ways we couldn’t have imagined.
In that era, there were times you’d see something so big on a news site, all you could do was shake your head.
Part of the astonishment came from knowing it wasn’t built by a computer. There was no mystery Mac doing all of that heavy lifting. The scale and depth didn’t come from a program, an algorithm or a fancy database.
It came from humans. Real journalists built it — using very different tools of the trade. There was no simple way to do what you had just experienced. Not secret shortcut. People actually did all of that work.
We built some of those things at The Register, as well.
I’ve never been as proud of any online journalism as the things we’ll talk about over the next few weeks. The same pride goes for the journalists I’ve sat next to over these last three or four years. They’re inspirational, talented and more than a little MacGyver-ish. And they were all of those things at a time and in a place where it wasn’t always easy to be those things.
The stuff we’ve built together is old-school Internet. Only for right now.
Come to think of it, I shouldn’t have referenced Adele to start this blog. It’s much more like this …