For eight years now, Lindsay William-Ross (pictured) has been enlivening the pages of LAist.com, starting out in early 2005 as a volunteer and replacing Zach Behrens as editor-in-chief in November 2010. Come May, her time with the site is scheduled to take a new and delightful turn with the birth of her first child.
“We’re still working out the details, but I expect to take somewhere around eight weeks off,” William-Ross tells FishbowlLA. “My current team of stellar associate editors will be assuming some of my duties, but I suspect we will bring on another set of hands in some sort of capacity to help them out. I produce around 125 posts per month, so in order to sustain our healthy traffic, I’d like to see someone else on board to keep up our volume.”
Friends of William-Ross and whose who follow the single-mom-to-be on Twitter know there is one other key member at her West Toluca Lake household. One whose world is about to similarly be rocked.
“Ah yes, Hank….” William-Ross responds when asked about her pet cat, the subject of many fond tweets. “He has a bit of a cult following. He is the most amazing cat in the world, though.”
William-Ross’s Gothamist bosses Jen Chung and Jake Dobkin have explicitly told her not to worry about work while on maternity leave. Leading up to the big day, she says things have continued pretty much apace.
“I don’t think my work has fundamentally changed or been affected by my pregnancy, aside from maybe that I have to get up from my desk more often during the day to stretch my legs and other physical considerations,” she explains. “As 2013 began, I realized I’d have to take a harder look at the months ahead in terms of what things I do exclusively that my team will need to take on in my absence, though I have been delegating a bit more, which has turned out to be a marvelous thing.”
“We have three full time editors, two part-time editors and a couple of freelancers in addition to our longtime volunteers, guest writers and interns,” she continues. “When I think back to when we were more like a garage band, doing the site in our free time, LAist is really something to be proud of.”
“My goal from a few years back was to no longer have people say, ‘What’s LAist?’, when they learned what site I was with. More and more, I see that happening. I’m continually delighted that I get the opportunity to helm LAist and that I’m able to earn a living doing so.”
William-Ross says she has no plans to become a mommy blogger, adding that she has no beef with the many in SoCal and elsewhere who chose that path. Instead, when she gets back to her LAist duties, it will be all about continuing to strike the right content balance.
“We do have to be conscious of traffic, because several jobs depend on it,” she notes. “But the more traffic we bring, the more room we have to do the less sensational stories, or the longer pieces, or the terrific interviews. When those stories do well, then that’s doubly meaningful.”
“Some time back we charted our most popular posts, and it’s no surprise that nudity, bizarre crimes, interesting photo collections, quirky food items and celeb scandals are perpetually popular. What’s delightful is when something we’ve put together that reflects our personal passions is well-received, then I feel we get our true rewards.”
[Photo courtesy William-Ross, who officially marks her eight-year anniversary at LAist… tomorrow.]