I write today with the bittersweet news that I am suspending my primary writing outlet for more than two years, Gitell.com. This website served as an eclectic collection of musings and reporting, on subjects ranging from the 2008 presidential campaign to Middle East politics, great deli to Chinese food.
In the world of blogging such a diverse website is not supposed to succeed. I received my share of lectures from web experts urging me to narrowcast. I shouldn’t just write about pets or cats or black cats, they said, but one-eyed black cats. That was how I could hope to wring money out of the media at a time of transformation and retrenchment, they said. I never heeded that advice. The site fit into no existing blogosphere community – an all but certain way to boost website traffic. I never wanted to generate gruel for the ideologically converted. No. Gitell.com will stand as the repository of quirky interests of a person with plenty of passions.
I’m particularly proud of the response Gitell.com gained in a number of areas. My writing on veterans’ affairs, influenced by my father, garnered a constant stream of visitors. See this piece on the Vietnam War Memorial. Then, there were the pieces I thought of as the web equivalent of a Boston Globe metro column: for example, the story of my neighbor, a witness to the Warsaw Ghetto horror, himself taken to Germany as a slave laborer after participating in the little-remembered Warsaw revolt. Then there are my writings on the people who helped forge the political character of Boston, such as Albie Sherman and Charlie Doyle. And, of course, food. I’ll probably miss that the most.
It’s a tribute to the site and the brilliance of the great departed John Cazale that a post about him is the fourth-most trafficked piece in the history of Gitell.com.
As much as Gitell.com ran contrary to the flow of conventional web thinking, it won more than its fair share of of acclaim and recognition. The site was linked to by Politico and Slate, The New Republic and other sites. My piece on encountering documentarian Ken Burns at Costco was quoted in the print edition of The Washington Post. Another post was excerpted on the op-ed page of The Boston Globe. Amidst the more than 205,000 blogs associated with WordPress, Gitell.com was selected “Blog of the Day” and “Hawt Post” on a number of occasions.
All-in-all, it was a great run. I’m moving on to a terrific opportunity. To all my readers, I thank you for your loyalty and support. Farewell.
EDIT. February 10, 2009. Many have written asking about my new coordinates. The State House News Service reported today that I have joined the new Speaker of the House in Massachusetts, Rep. Robert DeLeo, as his director of communications.