Many a journalist wonders what it would be like to leave the beat for the blog, but few act on the curiosity. They prize traits in their employers like stability, history and health insurance.
During his four years as a reporter at The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa., Daniel Victor tasted online community collaboration in the news process through his beat blogs and tweets. He couldn’t shake the urge to be part of a deeper community conversation than allowed at a traditional beat reporting gig — even one where editors give room for innovation, as Victor’s did. So when he heard about a new D.C.-based online journalism start-up last year, he made the leap and landed the job of Community Host for local news site TBD.
Fast forward six months, and now Victor, who’s been quoted and noted in blogs from Poynter to Jezebel, learned in February that his job — along with most of his co-workers — is being eliminated as the website moves away from the vast blog network he helped assemble and toward a much smaller arts and entertainment niche. Bummer? Of course. But this 26-year-old doesn’t talk regrets. He’s too busy already thinking future and calculating how the failure will set him apart and set him up for great things. In fact, he’s already headed for them: Philly.com scooped Victor up to fill a similar community-building role there.
Here, he took some time to talk about the experience and what he learned.