This is Behind the Blog, where we share our behind-the-scenes thoughts about how a few of our top stories of the week came together. This week, we discuss tenacity in blogging, seeing results from journalism, and open-source platforms.
SAM: It seems like the theme of this week was “following up,” which is appropriate for the new year when everyone is circling back or checking in or whatever. Jason finally gave us the thrilling conclusion to his journey to find Garth’s new album in physical, jewel-cased form (but sadly did not take the opportunity to jump into the Bass Pro Shop aquarium), and wrote about the ongoing mess that is hacked Facebook pages being stolen and used to generate AI engagement bait garbage. Joseph closed the loop on a story he broke years ago about a data broker that got caught selling location data related to sensitive locations including places of worship, reproductive health clinics, and domestic abuse shelters. I wrote about getting some suspiciously hollow responses back from the Texas health department about my FOIA requests for info on an age verification bill, after a law went into place saying adult sites must include a wild warning about how porn gives you brain damage. Mercury got its ass out of retrograde, basically.
Sometimes it’s tempting to write a story, say “ok that was good, time to close 1,000 tabs and move on forever,” and stop paying attention after that. Hitting publish on an arduous blog or a long-tail investigation, especially considering some of the heavy things we write about, is such a relief it’s tempting to hit yourself with a neuralyzer and move on forever. But some of the best stories, and the biggest impact on people’s lives, comes from editorial tenacity, staying on a story or a path for as long as the trail leads.