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Ask the Editor

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Dear Tony,

Why does LAist use the royal "we"? I think it's obnoxious. Why don't you? And why doesn't all of your writers use it. I see only some of them do.

LAist uses "we" instead of "I" because we are published by Gothamist and they say "we". Jake and Jen said I can run LAist any way I want and out of respect to that freedom I don't think that I've not used the royal "we" in more than 1% of the posts that I've written since I started in June.

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I think it's funny. I think that it's a tip of the hat to our publisher and the blog that we yearn to be more like. I also think that it's an interesting exercise for writers who are committed to growing and trying new things. At first it was slightly difficult, but I adjusted pretty quickly and now it's hard for me to say "I" when writing LAist posts.

I also like it because on my personal blog I feel like I say I far too much.

But mostly I like it because I feel it keeps the focus on the subject at hand as opposed to on the author. Odds are people don't care about my journey to the Arclight when reviewing "Little Miss Sunshine", even if some fascinating things happened. Odds are all they care about is if I thought the film was good or not, and why. Strangely, movie stars and movies are more important to our readers than my so-called-life, so "we" keeps "me" thinking about what I should be thinking about, which is "it".

If I want to write about the three cheerleaders I met at the KFC on Vine before the show, that might be better placed on my personal blog.

As for my writers using it or not using it... LAist is a volunteer groupblog for the most part. Yes we offer perks like tickets to concerts, cds, dvds, and access to vips, etc., but the people who contribute here are doing so (i think) out of wanting to write for one of the most popular and influencial blogs in the second largest city in the USA. Therefore I like to keep things fun for them.

To me, blogging is about creativity, experimentation, finding ones voice, honing that voice, and writing writing writing. If using the royal "we" gets in the way of any of that I'd rather not have my writer struggle. Although I'd prefer them to use it because it helps define the Gothamist family of blogs, it's not everything and ultimately I just want our writers to tell the story of this city.

Other -Ist blogs don't use the royal "we" and that's fine, but right now my main inspiration is Gothamist, not just because they are hugely successful, but I appreciate the path that they took to get there and instead of trying to re-invent the wheel every day I think it's a good idea to learn from those who have already gone down the path.

Often I equate using the royal "we" like batting left-handed. It might be awkward at first but once you get the hang of it, your odds for success are greater than everyone else who are doing the same exact thing.

But mostly I like it because it's funny.

We went to the bathroom today and reached into our board shorts... etc. cracks me up. But I guess I'm easily pleased.

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Anyways if my writers aren't into it that's cool, I just want them to have a good time while they're contributing for us.

Hey Tony,

How does one apply to write for LAist?

Right now we are looking for a few good writers in the following areas: local politics, neighborhoods, fashion, art, cd reviews, and television reviews.

We get access to lots of cds, concerts, and events and it would be nice to have a few more people to say, "hey this is happening in a few days, interested?" and have them say yes!!

We also need a few people to fill us in on the latest tv shows. Like right now no one has written about Survivior. 9 of the 20 contestants are from LA, how can we not be writing about them?

And finally I think we're not doing enough about fashion in LA or the art world.

So if you want to contribute, email me a three to four paragraph review on something and we can take it from there.

I'm also looking for people who are good at doing little 2-3 minute video interviews of local people that can be hosted on YouTube or Google Video. No need to be great at editing video, if you've seen some of my quickie interviews you'll see that I hit record then when its over I hit stop and thats it. If you're fancier than that even better, but it's not a requirement.

My email address is


Editor, LAist

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