Let’s Have a Chat
Hello, my name is Allison Silver. I’m the editor of The Washington Independent. I’ve been involved in analysis and commentary in journalism since my first real job in media right out of college — when I was a researcher for the political columnist Tom Wicker of The New York Times. Then I went to The Los Angeles Times Sunday "Opinion" section, a weekly section about politics and current events, and ultimately ran it for 10 years. I was also an editor at The New York Times "Week in Review" for five years. There you have it, bastions of old media.
I liked to see my job as showing people what’s behind the curtain of public life. I was jazzed by pulling academics and scholars into the public debate — to get people with expertise into the mix of public discussion. On the broad canvas of public debate, I was able to hold an empty picture frame up to focus in on a small part of it — whether the frame was offered by an economist or a historian or a constitutional scholar or a former intelligence officer.
The Internet offers an even more interesting opportunity to do this. Now the debate isn’t just broadened to include myriad perspectives: it demands room for readers. The connectivity between the contributor and the user is not just exciting to read but intoxicating to be a part of. That is why writers will host an online chat for every piece they contribute to The Washington Independent. It is the nexis between the writer and engaged readers that is what the Net is really about. These exchanges between reporters and their readers generate amazing possibilities. This is the real snap, crackle, pop of news on the Internet. And I want our site to play a big part in it.