Monday, September 20, 2010

Taking stock, four weeks in

So I've been doing my new job for four weeks now. (If you're just tuning in, read this.) A month or so into any new gig is a good time to take a breath and see how it's going.

I've been having a ball, and I hope you're enjoying reading some of the pieces we've come up with -- and contributing to them.

We've found out that sometimes it's hard to say one good thing.

We've talked about our scars.

High-school seniors have provided smart advice to first-graders.

We've told tales of rescue.

We've remembered where we were on 9/11/01.

We've shared our toy stories.

All those posts are still live -- you're welcome to add your stories and continue the conversation. I'm also looking for some more stories for the Cut Day project, about the time you didn't make the team. We'll have a compilation of those ready to go shortly.

Here's a couple of questions some of you have asked along the way:

-- Are you ever going to write regular stories again?

Absolutely. I wanted to spend some time getting these projects launched so y'all could see what I was trying to do (and so I could figure out the best way to do them). But I've always planned to keep writing, and my goal is to have a couple of pieces a week of my own stuff. I did do a Panthers preview a couple of weeks ago -- I said they'd go 6-10, and after watching the first two games, I might've been too optimistic.

I've also been scouting some long-term stories, and a couple of them look really promising for down the road.

-- Is there stuff I'm missing if I read you mostly in the paper?

A little. So far we've put versions of all these projects in the printed Observer, but online we've got room to add more of what readers have sent in. I'll also post smaller things online, such as links to videos and other great stories I've run across. But most of the bigger stuff will find some place in the paper.

-- What's the best way to find out when something new comes out?

If you have an RSS reader like Google Reader, you can subscribe to this blog -- the button is on the right-hand side, just above my picture. Every time I post something new, it'll show up on there. I also post links on Facebook and Twitter when there's something new, so if you friend or follow me, you can find the stories that way.

We've been toying with the idea of having an e-mail alert that you could sign up for -- you'd be notified whenever I posted. I'm not sure if people would like that, or if it's just one more e-mail on top of a big stack. Let me know what you think.

-- How do I send ideas your way?

E-mail me at, call 704-358-5227, or send me a Twitter or Facebook message. Always glad to hear good ideas.

We're also working on a page of some kind that would make it easier to jump into current projects, browse my archives, highlight great comments, post video, that sort of thing. If there's something in particular you'd like to see along those lines, holler.

The bottom line is, this is something new for me, so I'm sort of walking through the woods in the dark. I'm bound to trip over roots and run into trees now and then. But it's still a lot of fun. Thanks for all your stories so far, and let me know how to make this better.