"I'm grateful to be here and I know a lot of you are already signed up to contribute, and I appreciate that. I know some of you have already come over and played poker or sampled our open bar, and I appreciate that, too. More where that came from."In about three weeks." Nearly six months have gone by and, whatever the status of the poker games and open bar, as of 7 a.m. ET, DailyCaller.com was still "coming soon."
"I'm editing a site called the DailyCaller.com, which ought to be up in about three weeks . . ."
While the site the Carlson was hired to edit has gone through the longest three weeks of development in the history of the Internet, Andrew Breitbart's Big Government last month had one of the most smashing debuts in the history of Internet news. More from Carlson's May 26 spiel:
"We are a general interest, which is to say, large, newspaper-type format site. Roughly along the lines of the Huffington Post . . ."Breitbart himself designed the Huffington Post. Breitbart and Carlson are friends. I have no idea of what, if any, involvement Breitbart has had with the DailyCaller.com, but surely I'm not the only news professional puzzled that it would take six months to design and launch an Internet news site -- especially one which was announced with such fanfare.
Given that Carlson said six months ago that many of the attendees at the Heritage blogger luncheon were already signed up as contributors, they've got to be wondering just what it is they've signed up for. What has the DailyCaller.com got so far? Well, there's a Facebook page with some 600 "fans" and this description:
The Daily Caller will be a comprehensive news site, providing original reporting, constantly updated links to the latest news, analysis of current events, satire, research on current policy issues, columns from thought leaders, and Congressional Member reviews.What does something like that cost? And why is it taking so long to develop? Who knows?
A couple of weeks ago, right before I left for Kentucky to cover the investigation into the death of Census worker Bill Sparkman -- a trip funded by tip-jar contributions from readers -- I found myself on the phone with blog-buddy Jimmie Bise. In the course of a 20-minute conversation, Jimmie laid out a simple scenario for building an online news operation on a shoestring budget. Jimmie summarized a lot of that conversation in a blog post a month ago:
Charlie Crist, who will be a continual thorn in conservatives’ sides if he’s elected to the Senate, raised $4.3 million in just one quarter this year. That much money could fund a good conservative news site for at least five years, if not more like eight. Do you know how much good reporting we could get with a budget of just $500,000 a year?As Jimmie explained, there are plenty of good reporters who'd work for $70,000 a year. Four full-timers could be had for $250,000 or so, ranging the salaries from $40K for the junior staffer/trainee/clerk and then up: $60K, $70K, $80K for the top editor. Throw in another $100,000 for insurance, benefits, legal fees, etc., and you've still got $150,000 for promotion, advertising, travel, payments to freelancers, etc.
Development, design, launch? Jimmie's got WordPress know-how, I've got design, layout and editing experience. In terms of promotional hype, do you have any idea how much $10,000 will buy from BlogAd.coms? A freaking buttload, my friend.
Well, for all we know, DailyCaller.com will go live at 9 a.m., become a massive overnight sensation, and soon leave Matt Drudge, the HuffPo and the Associated Press trailing in their wake, as Carlson & Co. revolutionize news as we know it.
Or maybe not. Maybe the poker games, the open bar and the Facebook page are all we'll ever see. Maybe the DailyCaller's investors have already taken a look at the Beta format prototype and yanked their money out.
Who knows? But if and when the long-promised "large, newspaper-type format site" finally appears, I'll remind Carlson of the advice I offered the day after his big Heritage spiel: It had better not suck.
Oh, and NTCNews has an A.M. Market Update this morning. Seems the real-estate market's looking kind of squirrelly. Homelessness, Wall Street shenanigans, clueless regulators -- welcome to Great Depression II, according to one analyst.
But what do I know? Nobody ever gave me the start-up capital to throw poker parties with an open bar . . .