TBD launch to provide complete neighborhood news
TBD launched last night after months of site design and blogger recruitment. At Friday’s media preview for TBD, an integrated TV and web news source, about 15 TBD staff and affiliated bloggers sat at a long table discussing what sets this multimedia site apart from the rest.
The site integrates TV and web operations to provide complete coverage of weather, neighborhoods, sports, dining and transportation. TBD is focused on creating original content, utilizing information from a network of 125 neighborhood blogs, and distributing stories across many platforms.
The site hired about 50 people so far according to General Manager Jim Brady, formerly the executive editor of the washingtonpost.com. Reporters and editors are coming from CBS news, the Washington City Paper, the Post and other news sources to be a part of TBD.
TBD is also using about 50 Allbritton staff, already working for News Channel 8 and ABC7, says Brady. ABC7 will retain its TV channel, but the ABC7 and the News Channel 8 websites will both be rebranded as TBD.
The site will have a Droid and an iPhone application for the launch date. Brady says, “You don’t have a news source unless you have a mobile site.” Their application is self contained, which means that users will be able to visit many different sites within the one application.
TBD editor Erik Wemple says that TBD is going to be innovative and creative in social media. Rather than having Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare as an afterthought, TBD has charted out a plan of attack to make the most of each platform. For example, Brady says, “Headlines don’t always make a good tweet.” TBD will incorporate a tweet message into each story instead of Twitter picking up the story’s headline.
The site aims to take interactivity of news stories to a new level by having a "full-disclosure" method of reporting. If a reporter can’t get an interview or can’t find information, readers will be notified and asked to contribute the missing piece.
The commenting section isn’t going to be chronological. The site will prioritize users based on their reputation of posting useful comments overtime. This works as an incentive to revisit the site often. The TBD team says that they also want to let readers easily find the best comments.
Even with 100 employees, there aren’t enough resources to cover all of the District's neighborhoods. To compensate for this the 125 neighborhood blogs, working with TBD, will contribute their reporting to TBD's website. The Georgetown Dish is part of this network. “No one has looked more closely at news sources in these communities, ” says Wemple.
The TBD team says that their site http://tbd.com - at launch date - is only the beginning. More features will be introduced within the next few months.