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Jul. 21 2010 - 5:52 pm | 155 views | 0 recommendations | 5 comments

My Last Post for True/Slant

A sad panda, aka: me.

Update: I’ve made a new domain for Brave New Hooks. Keep on following my work at BraveNewHooks.com!

Oh God, another True/Slant’er out the door? Yes, it’s true.

As of Thursday, I join the ranks of former True/Slant contributors.

It’s with some amount of sadness (thus the panda) that I make the announcement, though I’ve known about our pending split since June. The nature of my content is just not a very good fit at Forbes, and that much was pretty apparent from the moment the announcement was made.

In my 10 months as a True/Slant contributor, I’ve seen some really special things happen. I got to be on the leading edge of an upstart that broke 1.5 million readers a month in its first 12. I was even lucky enough to have one of my big stories called out by our ever-patient front page editor Michael Roston, who said my reporting on Barry Cooper’s wild tale was some of the most important work they’ve published.

Getting a popular story on True/Slant is like being constantly and completely flattered, especially to see my by-line up there with journalists like Matt Taibbi, Michael Hastings and Allison Kilkenny. My friends can attest, there was a celebration every time I cracked True/Slant’s top five most popular contributors.

Ah, well. Every good thing ends.

Before I go, an announcement: I am currently producing a manuscript about Barry Cooper.

I’ve never before made such a public claim of pending work, let alone something as lengthy as a book, but there’s a level of certainty to this project that’s rather unusual. Hollywood producer Brett Ratner has purchased film rights to Barry’s life story. Those rights were sold by a producer at SpikeTV, who I’ve since interviewed in my research on Cooper. While I have yet to speak with Ratner’s people, I’m sure they’ll be interested to see what I produce. While already weighing a number of options for publication, I’m still open to conferring with any interested literary agent.

So, yes, True/Slant and I are breaking up, but I am by no means going away. After two years of hard work as their contractor, RawStory.com has offered a salaried job and will be taking me on staff beginning August 1. We’ve got some big things in store for our readers, but I cannot say more for fear of death or censure. Basically: stay tuned.

Thanks to everyone at True/Slant and all of my readers, without whom none of this would have happened.

And always remember, individuals really can make a difference.


3 T/S Member Comments Called Out, 5 Total Comments
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  1. collapse expand

    Sad to see you go, Webster. I’ve loved your stuff on here. Now I have to rely on Sullivan to get the scoop on you and that’s just awful. :)

    RawStory is already bookmarked.

  2. collapse expand

    I already read RawStory, so here’s another reader you won’t be losing. Best of luck.

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    I haven’t always agreed with you, but have always respected your earnest opinions and writing style. I’m sure that I’ll continues to read your work in the future. Good luck!

  4. collapse expand

    Farewell Stephen, but not goodbye – I look forward to following your accelerated output on Raw. Your willingness and ability to get to the heart of untold stories deserves a good home, and I’m glad they’ll be providing it!

  5. collapse expand

    Stephen, I was sad to see that you are leaving T/S until I saw that you are joining RawStory! I love Raw, it is my number one news source and my homepage. I have been visiting them for a few years now. Other readers and I have some criticisms, though: There are too many fluff pieces featured which give attention to insignificant hot air coming from Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, etc. Also there are often important articles hosted on Raw which do not allow commenting, and many readers suspect conspiracy by the editors to stifle conversation about controversial topics (for example, Israel).

    On a more positive note, I would like to say something about the 2008 front page redesign fiasco. The short-lived (allegedly $40,000) redesign can still be viewed at http://rawstory.com/08/ . There was a lot of negative feedback from the readers because of the layout, particularly (for me, at least) concerning the top portion of the page. We all loved (and still love, since its return,) the excellent editor-selected features in one big bold list at the top of the page, right when you enter. Now, while I and many like me thought that the loss of the wonderful featured articles list was much to bear, its return also came at a price: the redesign also boasted a substantial vehicle for reader-created content including articles and diaries. I think these aspects of the redesign created more of a community feeling for RawStory as well as giving the readers a voice in what their favorite news-site could be about, and enabling them to draw attention to underreported stories. This was a giant step towards democratization of the newsroom, and as such was an admirable goal. I have greatly missed these features since reverting to the original layout and apparently scrapping the thought of redesign completely, for fear of lost traffic.

    I suggest that RawStory try to integrate the two pages together, in order to preserve the best parts of both. I will email you a copy of this comment, along with a MSPaint-created amalgamation of the two pages giving an impression of what I have in mind.

    Finally, I would like to say that careful consideration should be given to the idea of allowing readers to vote for their favorite story. I am not saying it is a bad idea, but it has the potential to be abused by people intent on blatant and extreme censorship, as recently exposed on Digg ( http://blogs.alternet.org/oleoleolson/2010/08/05/massive-censorship-of-digg-uncovered/# ). I will respect the decision of whatever the editors decide in regards to this. Censorship a la Digg will probably not be an issue anyway, and I would hope that any such activity on Raw would not go unnoticed for long.

    Cheers, Stephen! Congratulations on your success and I wish you all the best.
    Love is the Law, Love under Will.

    The RawStorySuspect

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    About Me

    My name is Stephen. I am a News Junkie and an assistant editor at RawStory.com. My work has appeared in publications both printed and online, including The Dallas Business Journal, the cover of Fort Worth Weekly and in the pages of The Dallas Morning News, Austin Monthly, Envy Magazine and others. I also covered the rebirth of the U.S. peace movement first-hand for The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, starting with the city's first public screening of 'Fahrenheit 9/11' all the way through the end of Cindy Sheehan's stay. I've seen my reporting discussed in publications such as Time, Wired, Reason, The Washington Post, D Magazine, The Guardian UK, Media Matters, ThinkProgress, Alternet, Cannabis Culture, 1-UP, Destructoid, Kotaku, GameSpot, G4TV and many others. I am currently open for freelance assignments and actively seeking a literary agent. You can follow me on Twitter @StephenCWebster, or from Facebook.com/StephenCWebster.

    See my profile »
    Followers: 77
    Contributor Since: September 2009
    Location:Austin, Texas

    What I'm Up To

    I am an associate editor at Raw Story, a popular political news nexus currently ranked as one of the top 2,500 Web sites in the United States.


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    Freelance or media inquiry? Let’s talk.