Wednesday, May 01, 2013

May 1, 2000: A look back at my first and only go as an online reporter

Thank you, Internet Archive. You Rock.

Olympia Today: May Day Marchers Head to Westside Streets 

I wrote this piece when I was running the above Olympia Time website. At the time, the site was actually owned by a small web design firm that I approached as part of an independent contact at Evergreen. Ah, the independent contract... boy, those were the days.

My idea was to add regular content to a site that was already sort of useful (with a perl weather script and a series of interesting maps) and watch what happened. I think I called the project an online community newspaper.

The run up to May Day 2000 in Olympia was stressful. It would come only five months after the WTO protests paralyzed Seattle and no one knew if these sort of things were rising to some crescendo. In the end, I think it would be remembered as a big and long, if otherwise uneventful and typical Olympia protest. Traffic was tied up, but no lasting impact.

May Day 2000 turned out to be (as I remember it) the high water mark for the site under my control. It was certainly the most interesting day for me and the highest web traffic day too.

My goal was to head over to the west side, watch May Day unfold, take notes and pictures, and then go home and put everything online. My ultimate goal was to beat the Olympian online with a final report, and I think I really did do that.

Obviously, I tried to strike a straight up newsy tone:
Celebrants and protestors marched this afternoon from the Value Village at Division and Harrison to the corner of Black Lake and Cooper Point. The marchers took the intersection in what they call an act against global capitalism.  
I was also more interested in the other people not taking part of the march (like me), but were there to watch in some official capacity:

No local politicians were recognized, but Olympia's Police Chief Gary Michel was present, standing with other senior officers north of the intersection on Black Lake.  

I love my third person reference, no politicians were recognized, instead of "I didn't see anyone I recognized."

I was also fascinated by the media response:
The march attracted much of the regional media, including Olympia bureau chief for the Seattle Times David Postman (who also brought a photographer), an AP photographer, KING 5, KOMO 4, KGY’s Doug Adamson, the Olympian, and helicopters from KIRO 7 and Fox’s Q13.

KGY was the most active among the media, interrupting their regular broadcast to bring updates. Adamson road shotgun on a specially outfitted truck in which he broadcasted updates and followed the march. The Olympian also did their first midday update on their website to cover the story.
Doug Adamnson really did do a massive job that day, I mean check him out.

And, I suppose I really didn't "beat" the Olympian, they did do a midday update. But, it is worth noting that if I read myself right, it was their first midday website update ever. That's certainly something.

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