This naive 27-year-old thought he could cover D.C. housing policy.
Thirty-two months ago to the day, I entered the old Washington City Paper office in Adams Morgan and was handed the proverbial keys to this blog. It was a daunting prospect, as people were not shy about pointing out: When I met then-Councilmember Jim Graham during my first week on the job, he asked me pointedly why I agreed to take this job, given that I couldn't possibly fill the big shoes left by my prodigious predecessor, Lydia DePillis.
Plenty of friendly people offered to help ease me into the challenge. Within a few days of starting at the paper, I'd had coffee with multiple sources who generously shared their wisdom via a blur of acronyms that I dutifully jotted down before returning to the office and looking them up to try to piece together what the hell they'd been talking about. ("The trouble with IZ is that the 80 percent AMI units aren't exactly helping TANF or SSDI recipients...")
Thirty-two months later, I know as much about IZ and AMI as the bounds of human sanity will allow, if not more. I've covered an expansive beat that extended well beyond what the Housing Complex name suggests—development, transportation, education, poverty, demography, and more—before settling back into a focus on housing itself, arguably D.C.'s most pressing issue.
And now, finally, it's time to move on. Today is my final day at City Paper; later this week, I'll be starting a new job as senior editor at Mother Jones magazine. I won't be going far: Mother Jones' D.C. bureau is all of three-and-a-half blocks away from City Paper headquarters. And I do hope to stick with some of the topics I've covered here, so please continue to keep the tips coming.
But before I go, I'd like to offer up some heartfelt thanks to my greatest asset during my time at City Paper: you. Without the constant input from my readers, I couldn't have done a fraction of the work I've undertaken. Thank you for sharing the goings-on in your neighborhoods and at your work. Thanks for all of your persistent pestering, via email and phone and Twitter. Thanks for not letting me get away with a wrong neighborhood name or an incomplete historical context or a sloppy construction. Thanks for the steady stream of story ideas that I struggled every day to keep up with. Thanks even for the vitriolic, name-calling comments, which were so much better informed and more insightful than vitriolic, name-calling comments I've seen anywhere else.
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