Well ‘splitters, we’ve been at it for a full three months now. I made a bunch of ridiculous-ass claims when I first started about fixing motorcycle journalism and now you’ve gotten a taste of what life is like with me. How are we doing?
You Guys (and Gals)
As I sit down to write this, it’s 1:02 a.m. on Tuesday the 24th, and I’m sitting in my hotel in Spain preparing content for you to read tomorrow while I’m testing the Ducati Panigale 959.
Personally, it’s been/will be an intense week. My beloved grandfather passed suddenly (although I was able to make the six hour drive home in time to say goodbye - and thank you for your kind words on IG) in addition to the busiest news days of the year with EICMA, the LA Auto Show, the IMS show in Long Beach, and spending my entire weekend strapped into the tiniest seat imaginable on a plane so I can ride Ducati’s latest and greatest.
If that weren’t enough, mix in some other personal drama, Gawker undergoing some changes, and, to top it all off, being offered full time employment by Jalopnik.
Yes, you read that correctly. I haven’t been a full-time employee until now.
While many of you have noticed the increased moto coverage, you might not know that Jalopnik has never had a person devoted to motorcycle content. I was given the job more because I convinced/bullied/begged them into let me take a crack at it and, while they did agreed, they also said I had to first prove as a freelance writer that I was worth a full-time salary being dedicated to the segment—which meant growing readers and engagement (which is more than fair.) Thanks to you guys reading, and more importantly sharing, our stories, that gets to happen.
I normally wouldn’t be this transparent (it’s kind of you, but let’s not fill the comments with condolences or make this about me) but, on the heels of one of the most difficult weeks of my life, I feel compelled to tell you how thankful I am for you. Not really because you clicked on articles or because I get to keep eating (though that’s very good news and my mom is puuuumped), but because together we’ve started to build the best little corner of Jalopnik.
We have the best commenters by far, and it’s you guys who make this more fun than any of the normal perks people are jealous about. That, while I could not be more tired or spent right now, it was your guys’ responses, excitement, and comments in articles last tuesday (EICMA day) that keep me saying “what else can I write about,” or “how can I make this story better” rather than “can I be done yet?”
So, thank you for the comments and questions. Thank you for keeping our little corner of the Kinjaverse positive and feeling like a community instead of the comments section of a YouTube video.
Thank you for your grace when I disappear for a day. Thank you for the jokes, memes, and for making fun of me about butter coffee or
looking like being a shitty hipster or having chicken legs. Keep ‘em coming, because building this community or feeling like I actually improve your experience of this site or motorcycling is worth more than any piece of gear or fun trip - and it makes me want to work even harder to make this site even better.
You guys matter just as much to this site as I do, so thanks and keep up the good work. Those of you who read, comment, and share are doing your part to help us fix motorcycle journalism.
What I’m Doing
As I mentioned above, I made some pretty big claims about fixing motorcycle journalism. Part of that is because we’re Jalopnik and that’s what we do, and part of that is because I think things can and should be done differently and better than most places do them, and that’s what we’re trying to do.
Have I fixed motorcycle journalism? Fuck no. But I do suck less than I did when I started and I even suck a little bit less than yesterday.
We are still growing in our abilities. Plenty of you like to remind me how I’m not fixing motorcycle journalism when you find a mistake or an oversight, and that’s okay—I made those claims and I’ll have to back them up. More importantly, I already know they’re there (or that I’m not above making them) and I’m working on them - not because they’re embarrassing, but because serving you guys content is really fun (see above.)
We’re not perfect yet, but we’ve published a lot I’m really proud of, been first to bring you a ton of news, and my general life outlook of “I suck at everything and can always work on trying to suck just a little less” means we’re only going to push harder to be better.
And we aren’t the only ones who think so. The IMS show in Long Beach is the first time many of the new models are on a showroom floor to see in person, and the first part of the weekend is held privately for press conferences and the like. I know several of the major OEMs who told me they’ve been watching us extremely closely and think we have something special going on here. If I can learn to free up a little time, you’re about to see some wild shit from us.
What Do You Want?
But my question for you, the people who in all honesty my job is to serve, is what do you like? What do you dislike? What do you want to see more of? What do we do too much of? I’m zero percent promising to cater to the whims of every single person on the Internet—that seems like a fast way to blow things up—but I’d love to hear thoughts from the rational amongst you. I already learn tons from you all, and I’d love feedback on what you’re excited about.
My goal is to keep the site and our audience growing. Jalopnik wants to also focus more on bigger and more original stories, which means I’ll need to strike a balance between bringing you guys every little piece of news or every video I think you should know about and taking the time to write about more meaningful stuff.
No joke, I started a piece this week on a flat track school I did in July. It’s a school all of you should do, and is the school where I probably progressed more than any other school I’ve been to, but I haven’t gotten to tell you about it yet. We need a little more of those to balance things, and I’m going to try and be better about more unique content and more gear reviews.
The site also needs to get bigger. One thing I learned from my Hell For Leather days is that this job is best done in a team, with different personalities who can play off each other. Ideally I’d like to add to Team Lanesplitter down the line, but I have to prove it’s worth it first. Your sharing our content is massively helpful in that.
Thanks for reading. Thanks for commenting. Thanks for making the fact that I sat at my desk for 18 hours on EICMA day or the fact that I haven’t taken a real day off since I started not only bearable, but fun and something I look forward to every morning around 5:45 a.m. or so. This site is good and it can be awesome, and you guys impact that just like I do.
See you next week, and in the meantime, let me know how I’m doing.