ABC News blog Political Punch is celebrating its fifth birthday Wednesday, having started out under the title Down and Dirty, and senior White House correspondent Jake Tapper marked the milestone with a blog post reflecting 60 months and more than 7,600 posts later. Highlights:
“Today it begins …” was that first post’s title. And it began: “Yo. Today begins the grand abc news blog experiment. Blogs being built on spontaneity and opinion — neither of which big mainstream news organizations are particularly known for — but we’ll see how it goes … ”
Since then, “Down and Dirty” (as the blog was then called) became “Political Punch,” and a host of co-contributors joined in — Sunlen Miller, Karen Travers, Ann Compton, and many others. We’ve posted more than 7,600 items. For the first several years, the readership was so sparse I could post a picture of my cat as a lark and few would notice.
There have been some misfires, to be sure (all of which were my fault), but for the most part, I think (I hope) Political Punch has worked pretty well in allowing us to enhance our TV reporting with greater context and more information, to report news as it happens and break stories as soon as we have them confirmed (rather than waiting until the next show up), and to share with you information and observations that don’t rise to the level of needing to be reported on TV but may interest you nonetheless. (From that first week: the smell of the Hurricane Katrina aftermath, for example, or the process of reporting a World News piece.)
The blog has also been a way for us to be more transparent and accountable to you. As one example, we post the Q&As we ask the White house at briefings so you can see what we’ve asked Robert Gibbs or the president and you can let us know what you think about the quality (or lack thereof) of the questions.
Probably the highlights so far for the blog were breaking the story of the tax troubles of then-HHS Secretary nominee Tom Daschle and the resignation of Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair.
There have also been, of course, more than a few lowlights for the blog, which in honor of the blog’s anniversary I won’t mention, but suffice it to say I recall each and every one of them and wish I could get in the DeLorean, turn on the flux capacitors, and delete.
Through this evolution, I hope the blog has made me a better journalist, more responsive and engaged, more willing to question my own assumptions, to consider how others view a topic. We’ve added Twitter to the mix, of course, which has also helped me do that, and in the next few weeks we shall forge ahead with another experiment.
Writing this blog has meant a great deal to me. Thanks for reading it and for your comments.