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Apr. 8 2010 - 10:45 pm | 556 views | 4 recommendations | 9 comments

True/Slant Anniversary: 5 stories broken by bloggers on our network

Boy, it’s been some year, hasn’t it?

365 days ago, the group of us were sitting up here in True/Slant’s Mountain Lair. The site was having trouble loading, and I couldn’t edit the homepage. And I was even grumpier because I was eating brisket from Dean and Deluca rather than pouring 4 cups of wine and eating my own homemade charoset with loved ones for the first night of Passover.

But then we were off and running. And our site’s traffic has gained and gained, and it’s all because of our awesome network of contributing bloggers who produce such great original content.

Over the next few days, I’m going to write a few posts highlighting some of the best of that content published on our site. The first of my three lists is the 5 news stories broken here first on True/Slant, in alphabetical order.

Thanks for joining me on this trip down short-term-memory lane. If you’re a reader or a contributor to the site and have a favorite bit of news you learned about here first on T/S, please share it in the comments below.

***

Kashmir Hill – Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t understand Facebook’s new privacy settings

Ever since Google Buzz came along and suddenly exposed the privileged contents of your inbox to the world, the Facebook privacy flop of late 2009 has sort of been forgotten. But there we were in early December, and people you never thought would be able to see your profile on Facebook suddenly could see all sorts of things that you had only shared with close friends. Like, say, Mark Zuckerberg’s photos with his teddy bear.

That Facebook’s flacks were reduced to joking around about the stuffed animals belonging to the head of the most powerful social networking site in the world showed that Kashmir really nailed this one. Her big win demonstrated the power of having a distinct approach to the news of the world (i.e. what does Facebook’s change to its platform mean for privacy?). Kash got out ahead of this story and had every tech blogger you can name from Gawker to Mashable and beyond swimming in her wake. It wasn’t the first time Kash pulled down a great scoop (hello Justice Scalia!), and it sure won’t be the last time.

Kate Klonick – Vice President Dick Cheney’s daughter Mary Cheney pregnant with 2nd baby

When you get a hot news tip and you’re pretty sure either no one else has it, or no one else is acting on it, it requires that you take some care with how you handle it. And let’s face it – there are few things more sensitive than handling rumors that a VIP is having a baby, especially when that VIP is the daughter of a lightning rod of an ex-vice president and her sexual orientation already has been a source of culture war conflict.

Working with her source, Kate and I systematically mapped out a strategy for how she was going to handle this story, and how we were going to publish it. And then we pretty much threw the plan out the window when it was becoming clear to us that the gig was up and we needed to publish or lose the scoop. The sigh of relief came when Kate had a not-at-all confrontational chat with Ms. Cheney. And to mock-quote Politico, we had ‘won the evening.’

Jon Pessah – Roger Clemens Unplugged: ‘The Rocket’ breaks his silence

Ever since his unfortunate run-in with a congressional investigation into steroid use a couple of years ago, the 7-time Cy Young Award-winning pitcher has been pretty mum in public. But he not only gave an interview to our Jon Pessah, he called Pessah back when his first call came at a bad time.

Jon’s interview covered a variety of interesting territory, but the most interesting nugget was Clemens effectively delivering a terse ‘bring it on’ to federal investigators looking into the question of whether he perjured himself in that testimony before Congress in 2007. Jon depicted an athlete who may no longer be playing the game of baseball, but who was still ready to go 9 innings.

P.J. Tobia - Army Private Bowe Bergdahl walked off his base in Afghanistan

Last night as I was thinking this post over, Army Private Bowe Bergdahl re-surfaced in the news, with word that he was begging to be freed from the Taliban who were holding him in a video that had been released. While the story offers new details on Pvt. Bergdahl’s kidnapping, it doesn’t get into the question of how he came to be kidnapped. P.J. reported based on conversations with people involved in the search that while the soldier may have ended up in the wrong hands, he did not appear to have been captured during a combat operation. Instead, he suggested, the private had succumbed to a syndrome familiar to the Soviets of soldiers ‘going native’ and disappearing among the locals. And while his story’s details haven’t been confirmed yet, his blog posts helped reveal some of the questions around the convention narrative of ‘bringing one of our boy’s home.’

P.J. is a terrific blogger, and as a bit of a bleg, we hope to hear more from him because there are so many stories to be told about our malingering war in Afghanistan, and he’s told many of them so well.

Stephen Webster – The arrest of Barry Cooper of ‘KopBusters’

The drug war continues to grind on without rhyme or reason in this country, and ex-cop and drug enforcement officer Barry Cooper is one of the anti-drug war activists yelling ’stop!’ Stephen has been covering Cooper’s ‘KopBuster’ activism for years. Thus he was in the position of being one of the first journalists notified early in March when the Williamson County, Texas Sheriff’s Department raided Cooper’s home/office and arrested him and his wife.

Stephen has subsequently stayed tuned into this story, and demonstrated the power of the blogging medium for incremental storytelling. He’s returned to this story’s twists and turns, and we hope he’ll keep telling them as Cooper works his way through the justice system. I suspect that the tens of thousands of readers who are enraptured by the story of this ‘drug war insurgent’ will be following along

***

Tune in tomorrow when I look at 5 bloggers on the True/Slant network who provided unbeatable original perspective and analysis on the big news stories of earlier days.


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  1. collapse expand

    Thanks for the plug, Mike! It’s been a wild ride.

  2. collapse expand

    If you want to break new journalistic ground, be the first site to post the 5 stories you got the most wrong in the past year.
    I dare you.

    And I say that with all sincerity–I’m probably your (by which I mean T/S; sorry, Michael) #1 fan. I think I’ve posted more than most contributors, but to be fair I don’t have to do things like fact check and confirm sources.

    • collapse expand

      Ha, that’s OK jcalton, I won’t take it too hard.

      I’d have to turn the question over what we as a mass have gotten wrong to contributors and members of the site. I’ve certainly copped to being wrong about things (for instance, when I stated that Lieberman wouldn’t stand his ground on filibustering the public option), and I’ve seen people on the site say they weren’t sorry about things they wrote (see Rick Ungar on Bill Sparkman), but I’d really have to do a lot of digging to find things that amount to the level I think you’re describing. Any candidates anyone?

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  3. collapse expand

    This team is doing great things. Huffington Post is a Drudge counterpart…..and it get’s worse and worse everyday.

    Thanks for helping educate the folks who have careers and work a lot!

  4. collapse expand

    I am amused to tell my friends in other media about stories I read here first.

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    About Me

    I'm waiting for the day when I can get the news directly into my brain. Until then, I'll be lit up by the electric glow of screens, chasing the latest breaking like the hopeless news junkie I am. Ever since the Encyclopaedia Britannica tried to launch a web portal ten years ago, I've seen many ends of the online news spectrum, from my time as a political news reporter for both RawStory.com and the Huffington Post to the better part of a year I spent running the late New York Sun's website. There have been a lot of other stops in between. Now I am your homepage editorial overlord. But I haven't let it go to my head. Yet.

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