Prince of Petworth moves out of Petworth... and?

With the Prince of Petworth no longer living in Petworth, I've been repeatedly asked by people, and a couple of DC media outlets, over the past two days if I see this as an opportunity to "take over the Petworth blogging scene." First thing I'll say, as I've always said, is that Dan and I aren't rivals, and I don't believe our blogs compete. Others may disagree.

Dan Silverman, better known as the Prince of Petworth, started blogging in our area back in 2006. His main focus was the Petworth neighborhood and the changes that were slowly coming after the recession. He got pretty popular, and for good reason. He kept at his blog, adding content and helping existing and prospective residents keep up with the area. My friend Bill Crandall published the original Petworth News blog until 2007, when it became too much to keep up and Bill's "hiatus" became permanent. (My wife and I discovered Petworth because of Bill's original blog.)

In 2009, Dan went legit with his site and started blogging full time. That's a hard road to take, and I give Dan much respect for chasing after his dream. Blogging nets low income, so to make money at it, you have to grab as large an audience as possible to make your salary from advertising dollars. So became, and he shifted to cover news across the city, not just Petworth. And it seems to have paid off -- he became one of the most popular bloggers in the capital city.

Carol Herwig and Dan Silverman at the MPD neighborhood walk-through, December 27, 2014

Fast forward to 2015, and the "Prince of Petworth" is arguably more like the "Duke of DC," casting a wide net and trying to provide information to a bigger, and growing audience across the District. His blog receives millions of views and has an active community of commenters (some good, some rude).

A few weeks back, Dan sold his house on 4th Street and moved to the Van Ness / Cleveland Park area of DC. His reason? Schools. Due to boundary changes that have upset many people, Dan wasn't inbound to the elementary school he wanted for his children, and didn't want to jump into the craziness that is the lottery for charter schools. Totally understandable. (Petworth has some excellent pre-K and elementary schools, like Powell, Barnard, Bruce Monroe and others. Side note, as Powell parents, my wife and I couldn't be happier with Powell Elementary.) 

Dan moving out of Petworth doesn't make him disloyal or any less of a valuable resource. One person doesn't make a community, and his leaving does not cast, and should not be perceived by anyone, as a negative reflection on Petworth or our evolving school system. He made a choice that he thought was right for his family. Good for him, that's always the right choice. 

So does that make him a "Petworth blogger" anymore? If he still lived here, sure. But he doesn't. I don't think he's arguably been a Petworth-centric blogger for years. I think because he lived here at the time, he was more likely to cover local news. He spends a lot of time finding new restaurants and new development, and reposting press releases and reader emails and photos. And people love that. So it's a great resource.

Can Petworth News fill the vacuum left by Dan moving out? Sure -- but I think that vacuum has existed in Petworth for a long time, and I just happened to come along and fill the desire for local news.

My goal with Petworth News is to focus on the people and events that bring us together as a community and support the shared idea that we live in a vibrant, diverse neighborhood. I prefer writing longer articles rather than posting links, and so I post dramatically less than Dan and some other DC bloggers. (Of course, I have a full-time job that isn't related to this blog which takes up a majority of my time, along with a wonderful family.)

I encourage people to read Popville and Petworth News. You will find different information and a different approach to DC and local news. And that's great. That's the best case scenario for residents.

If you agree, share this blog with other Petworth residents so they know. And if you have an idea for a story on a topic, a person who makes a difference in the neighborhood or a complaint, feel free to Submit an Idea.

As always, thanks for reading.

Drew Schneider

Local DC blogger in Petworth, Washington DC.

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