Hi dear readers! Back in January, GGWash staff and Editorial Board members put our heads together to examine our coverage from 2017 and figure out what stories we want more of in 2018. We broke our options up by topic, geographic area, and type of post, then looked at how well we'd covered them in the past year and voted on areas to prioritize.
Since we're roughly at a halfway point, we wanted to check in and let you know how we're doing. We'd also like to hear from you!
Of course, housing, transit, bicycling, and infrastructure will continue to be our bread and butter. Nonetheless, we're always trying to hone and expand our coverage. Here's what GGWash is emphasizing in 2018:
Topics: We're aiming to write more about buses, equity, environmental sustainability, and local elections. We've generally done well in those areas, particularly on the first, thanks in no small part to DW Rowlands' and Tracy Loh's terrific series on Prince George's TheBus. Some other highlights: Kristen Jeffers wrote an excellent piece about dockless bikeshare and bigotry, Sean Maiwald explained why accessible design is just good design, Jessica Raven explained a link between human trafficking and lack of housing, and Mark Rodeffer kept us filled in on DC's proposed carbon tax.
Geographic areas: We’re trying to bolster our coverage of issues affecting communities east of the Anacostia River in DC, in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties in Maryland, and of Alexandria and Fairfax in Virginia. This year we've posted more about Prince George's (especially its zoning code rewrite and public bus system) and a decent amount about Montgomery County (check out Pete Tomao's post about Montrose Parkway or Tony Camilli's piece about how boundaries affect local schools) and Fairfax (particularly Canaan Merchant's coverage of unrest in Reston).
We want to publish more stories based east of the Anacostia River (like Stephen Hudson's post about the Anacostia land trust) and in Alexandria (like Kristen Jeffers' post about delays to the Potomac Yards Station). If you've got a great pitch about an urbanist issue in one of those areas, please let us know!
Types of posts: While we’re mostly volunteer-run, we’re still aiming to publish more breaking news stories and conduct more original reporting — particularly as local news outlets around us struggle to do more with less. We also want to write more explainers to help readers contextualize current events, as well as humor and satire pieces.
We've experimented with a few new types of posts. We now have an incredible news and analysis column called Metro Reasons from Stephen Repetski, and we've written several explainers (Dan Reed answers, “What's a BID anyway?”). We've also tried fun pieces like Dan Malouff's Metros logo contest and Adam Bressler and Nick Keenan's Subway Sudoku. Posts about contributors' personal experiences intersecting with urbanism (like Jane Green writing about why she left Wisconsin) were also very popular, as was Mitch Wander's “how to” piece about reporting dangerous storm grates.
To reiterate: this doesn't mean we're de-prioritizing topics that we have been covering before or abandoning the fun we already have, like WhichWMATA. Rather, we're focusing on the above areas in order to have more robust and representative coverage of urbanist issues in the region.
What do you think of these priorities? What topics and formats do you like?