Dispatches from the living amongst journalism's walking dead

TBD’s future is TBD, but then again, it always has been

If you didn’t read about all of the drama regarding TBD this week, well allow me to catch you up. On Wednesday, TBD’s six-month anniversary, our staff and the rest of the world found out TBD was going to be restructured internally, leading most to incorrectly assume the site’s going under.

As social media editor at TBD (and still employed!) I figure I can briefly lay out what’s really happening, as far as I know right now.

  • WJLA, the Allbritton sister site whose website had been replaced by TBD, will be getting its own website back – in addition to TBD.com.
  • TBD Editor Erik Wemple and most editorial staff will now fall under the management of WJLA News Director Bill Lord. The way that structure looks isn’t all that clear right now, but then again, we were never big on org charts at TBD.
  • TBD TV will have its branding reverted to News Channel 8, though it’s website will still be TBD.com.
  • Nobody was laid off, though a few jobs are changing. For instance,  I’ll likely be working social media strategy for the new properties in addition to TBD.

Anyway, I’m sure I’ll write more about this when I get a better handle on it myself. For now,  I just wanted to explain what I know and share a bit about how it all went down.

And if you’ll allow me to get a little personal for a moment, I’d like to share a favorite anecdote about TBD.

We had a staff meeting on the morning of TBD’s launch that has particularly haunted me lately. We were all exhausted from being up all night for the final switch-flip (I had briefly napped in a shower stall at the Allbritton gym), but triumphant smiles were everywhere. We’d been working for months to build this idea and were antsy to get started on executing it. It was a great moment.

Erik gave us a rallying speech that especially resonates right now. He told us to look around the table and savor the moment. We should remember the team as it was right then and there, because it wouldn’t always be that way. Some people would leave, we might get dismayed along the way, but on that day, at least, we were all together and we’d just started something we’d all poured our hearts into.

That’s the whole reason I’d gone into TBD to start with – I wanted to work toward  common goal with people who inspired and challenged me. I still do. Though we’ve lost far more of the people around that table than I ever thought we would by now, I know I don’t regret any of it for a second.

Despite all the changes – and I acknowledge they may look bleak externally – we have a great group of people who were brought together around the same dream. You don’t just drop something like that overnight. We’ll see how it all goes.



Link roundup: Twitter news, tech tools and a shameless plug


First try at using Xtranormal for news at TBD


  1. Kudos to Erik! Washington only makes you stronger. I hope WJLA/Allbritton support the Community Network as much as your team has! Thanks Mandy!

  2. Anonymous

    I didn’t mean to be in the “@tbd is dead” camp, but the reporting of what happened, especially moving under the TV news, made it look like a movie I had seen before. I remain a fervent @tbd cheerleader!

    • Thanks, David. I didn’t figure you among those who’d totally given up on us. I’d harass you enough about it, anyway!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén & Hosted by Pressable