Left Behinds

The anti-andrewsullivan.com. Or, the Robin Hood (Maid Marian?) of bright pink Blogger blogs.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Daily Kos Q&A

I wrote a story about political blogs in the current issue of V Magazine. The whole piece is probably a little too long to post on the blog, but after the jump is the Q&A with Daily Kos.

From "Blog On," V Magazine #40

May 2002.

Staff size?

Daily traffic?
On a typical weekday, between 500K and 1 million *visits*. Lots of people visit more than once a day, so it's impossible to say how many unique individuals visit (no matter how many people claim they can tell you their "unique visitor" count).

Three keywords that would generate your blog in a search engine?
Probably every single candidate for Senate and most candidates for House in 2006. (And 2004 and 2002.)

What do you do better than any other blog?
Build and manage a massive community. I have a full-time staffer dedicated to implementing features that help manage my community.

How did the blog start?
Daily Kos was a way for me to talk about politics in a landscape that was very hostile to liberal viewpoints. This was 2002, after the Afghanistan War and in the runup to the Iraq War. Criticizing the president was considered treasonous. But I had been a veteran, had served in the US Army during the first Gulf War, and no one was going to tell me I couldn't criticize the president. The US is still (mostly) a free country, despite what Bush and his cronies may want.

But at the time, political blogs were tiny. A few thousand readers for the top sites. No one could've predicted the growth of the medium. No one credible, anyway.

How is the blog financed?
Advertising. There is a small additional revenue stream for site subscriptions (allows users to turn off the site's advertising), but the ads are the primary source of income.

What's the story you're most proud of ?
There isn't any one story. The key isn't to take scalps (a notion very popular in the conservative media). Rather, the key is to become an effective partisan liberal media outlet. The Right has had Rush Limbaugh and just about the entire AM dial, they've had the 700 Club, they've had Fox News Channel, and they've had papers like the Washington Times working in concert to promote the Republican Party. Despite the hysterical cries from the Right, there is no explicitly partisan liberal media promoting the Democratic Party.

I'm proud of the fact that we're on the path to building that explicitly partisan liberal media. And we've done it with no money from ideologically-driven big money sources. We've done it with heart and passion.

One of your best headlines?
Honestly, I have no clue.

The worst thing about blogging?
It never ends. It's 24/7/365. I thought I'd be taking it easy over this holiday season, but damn conservatives wouldn't let me. First O'Reilly invents a controversy over his "War on Christmas" nonsense. Then the Bush Administration's spying scandal hit the scene. God forbid we can go a few days without having those guys do things like politicize a holiday everyone loves and tear up the constitution.

What other blogs do you read every day?
Among others:
Firedoglake (firedoglake.blogspot.com)
Atrios (eschaton.blogspot.com)
MyDD (MyDD.com)
Talking Points Memo (talkingpointsmemo.com)
Steve Gilliard (stevegilliard.blogspot.com)

My RSS reader has about 30 blogs on it.

Fill in the blank: Political blogs are the ______ of political journalism.
I can't do it. Some political blogs are real journalism (actual reporting). Some are pure rumor mongering. Some are community/action-oriented sites. Some are punditry/opinion writing. Some focus on technical subjects, like polling. Some focus on specific issues. Some are local, others are national.

A "blog" is merely a tool, no different than a word processor, except this one prints the results on the web. That tool can be wielded in a million different ways.



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