Into The Breech


November 30, 2015

Some personal news: Starting today I am a full-time employee of Aldertrack. I’ve tied off my various consulting gigs and committed myself completely to making this wonderful company grow.

Although it’s had previous incarnations, Aldertrack’s current form has existed for about six months now, and I’m more excited than ever about its potential and future. I don’t think I’ve ever worked on a project like this–where customers are so uniformly positive what they’re buying. That spirit makes the job fun and every day fulfilling.

We produce high-quality political reporting for Chicago and Illinois with email newsletter-only reports that mostly focus on Chicago City Council and Cook County Board, but with a bit of Illinois stuff in there too. It’s an answer to the increased commoditization of political news, some of which Matt Taibbi talks about here:

We in the media have spent decades turning the news into a consumer business that’s basically indistinguishable from selling cheeseburgers or video games. You want bigger margins, you just cram the product full of more fat and sugar and violence and wait for your obese, over-stimulated customer to come waddling forth.

The old Edward R. Murrow, eat-your-broccoli version of the news was banished long ago. Once such whiny purists were driven from editorial posts and the ad people over the last four or five decades got invited in, things changed. Then it was nothing but murders, bombs, and panda births, delivered to thickening couch potatoes in ever briefer blasts of forty, thirty, twenty seconds.

We’ve been able to identify a growing market for our product, where I’ll be focusing my time in the coming months.

My partners Jimm Dispensa and Ramsin Canon are a big part of what makes Aldertrack so great. I never imagined I’d encounter one, let alone two people who are so different intellectually and personality-wise from me, yet we all seem to compliment each other so well. Every time we talk, I feel like something great is about to happen.

I should also tip my hat to the two other full-time employees at Aldertrack, Claudia Morell and A.D. Quig, two brilliant reporters who have been crazy enough to jump into this thing with us. It’s going to get better and funner.

If you want to see what we’re up to, sign up for our our free weekday email here, or get our weekly updated tip sheet on all 177 Illinois legislative races, the Illinois Racing Form, for just $15.

Then you can see where all my writing has been going for the last six months.