One year ago from today I had an idea. A year from tomorrow, that idea was put into motion, thanks to Alan.
Alan and I were both covering the start of the Iraq war, as were many other bloggers. We saw a need to converge all of that coverage, to put it one place where people could get as much information and commentary as they wanted on one page.
We opened a Blogspot account, sent the word out to other bloggers and the Warblog Corner
Just days after, when we realized that we had created a monster, so to speak, we bought a domain name, signed up with Hosting Matters
, hired Sekimori Design
and The Command Post
came to life.
For the first few months, the news was happening fast and furious and, thanks to contributors that spanned the globe
, TCP was on top of things, often posting news before the mainstream media websites did. We made fast friends with quite a few people in the news industry, enabling us to get scoops and leads before most news outlets.
Our bright idea worked because of supply and demand. People were demanding up to the minute news; we were supplying it. Readers wrote to tell us that they kept TCP open at work all day because it was the only way they could get decent coverage of the war without a television. The CNN newsroom was monitoring TCP. Military news outlets were aware of us. We were hounded for interviews.
I think Alan and I both realized early on that we were onto something huge. Even as the war - and thus the news - was at its peak, we were looking forward, thinking up ways to keep TCP relevant even after the major news from Iraq waned.
At one point we realized that if we wanted to continue to be taken seriously as a news site, we would have to separate the obvious opinion pieces from the straight news, so we created the OpEd section
, a place where people were free to opine and rant without worrying about presenting the news in a biased fashion. The OpEd section has grown quite nicely, often featuring guest pieces from both bloggers and reporters.
Still, we needed to expand more. There were other things going on in the world besides our fight with Saddam's men. Eventually we created the Global War on Terror
page and the Global Recon
section (which started out as a North Korea page, which spread into a page covering hot spots around the world). Global Recon became an important place when news broke that didn't quite fit into any of our other sections; news like the blackout
that hit the Northeast last summer. Many mainstream media outlets pointed to TCP
as a way to get up to date news on the situation.
It wasn't until then that I realized the potential of TCP; we were performing a service
of sorts, not just a gathering of links and news bites, but a real service. Later, that thought would resonate again when we covered the Bam earthquake and other news from around the world that most media outlets were ignoring. Again, that is because we have an amazing lineup of contributors from around the world. We had firsthand accounts from uprisings in Iran, bombings in Israel and a coup in Haiti. People right there, able to quickly update our readers on volatile situations without having to go through a submit process or work with editors. I think that's one of the most outstanding features of TCP; it's raw news. It's not sliced up for easy consumption, it's not stripped of emotion. That's what separates TCP's coverage of breaking news from other news outlets.
Another thing that makes TCP different is the comments feature. While many news sites have message boards, TCP has, like most blogs, a comment feature built right in to each post. The conversations and discussions that go on in each thread only adds to the personal aspect of TCP; often readers will leave links to updates on the stories they are commenting on, or add information we didn't have.
In order to keep TCP fresh and viable, we needed to keep the news fresh. When the breaking news is slow (which is really a good
thing in most cases), we still needed to find ways to keep the site fresh without rehashing old news.
Fortunately, there is always something going on, especially in an election year. So we created the Election 2004 section, which, over the past few months, has clearly been the most popular place on TCP. We covered each primary, each speech, each caucus live. We had reporters on the spot in all the states necessary, posting photos and conducting their own exit polls. We covered speeches, debates and news conferences live. We were the
source for up to the minute election information, and we hope to continue to be that for the rest of the election season.
It's certainly hard to become a popular destination on the web without help from other people. Glenn Reynolds
and Jeff Jarvis
were two of our earliest fans, and linked TCP often enough to keep fresh readers coming over. We'd like to thank them, Stacy
for her hard work and dedication to TCP, everyone who ever linked to TCP, our incredible contributors, everyone who made a donation to TCP to help cover the costs of running the site, our advertisers and our loyal readers.
TCP is only going to get bigger and better. If you would have told me a year ago that today I would be equipped with a laptop and a press pass to the GOP convention because of Command Post, I would have thought you crazy. But here we are, at just such a place. Alan and I both run the place in our "spare" time. We both have full-time jobs and families. But every letter we received from a reader who appreciated our work, from a soldier in Iraq who uses TCP to keep up with things going on besides the war, every time we were able to direct our readers to relief efforts or charitable organizations makes it worth every second and every penny spent. I love
doing this. If I could afford to do it full-time, I would. Perhaps some day.
It's been an interesting, exhausting, wild year. I wouldn't trade it in for anything. I know look forward to another year of news, and hope for most of it to be good.
I want to take a moment to personally thank Alan for his inspiration, dedication and overall brilliance. TCP is nothing without him; he's the brains behind the operation. I just work here.
Again, thanks to everyone who supported TCP and encouraged Alan and I to keep it going. A toast to all of you.
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and give them a nice round of applause for all of their hard work. There is no way TCP exists without them.]