City council meetings are easy to cover, for the most part. You go to them, there is an agenda of things that people will talk about, it is usually accompanied by extensive documentation of the things to be discussed, and you write about what the people at the meetings talked the longest about.
All the research is done for you and the quotes are served on a silver platter. On weeks with a lot of council meetings up and down the Route 1 corridor, my cup overfloweth with stories.
This past week was a challenge, owing to the end of the month slowdown in council schedules, but I managed to find my own news stories that helped to drive the cycle. In part, that was my big goal this week: to further identify and develop resources necessary to produce beat coverage outside of the municipal meeting calendar cycle. So, I attended a Memorial Day commemoration in Bladensburg to ask public officials about the Peace Cross controversy, I dove into Maryland’s online property records and business information databases to figure out who bought the old Crossroads Nightclub, and I attended WSSC’s informational meeting about its sewer rehab project that could disrupt the Anacostia Trail between Bladensburg and the District.
On a technical note, I’ve also updated the site architecture to be more search-engine friendly. It had the potential to break any links already to Route 1 Reporter content, but those issues should be mitigated by a 301 redirect plugin. The big noticeable change on your end: the URL’s are now derived from the title of the article, as opposed to an ambiguous archival post number. This helps search engine robots to understand the content I’m producing. I also think it makes sharing links easier, as it allows an at-a-glance way of verifying that you’re pasting your intended article into that Facebook status bar.
This week promises to be a busy one, with several important meetings taking place. In Hyattsville, Council will again consider the contentious issues surrounding a proposed redevelopment of the abandoned WSSC offices on Hamilton Street. Also, Mount Rainier City Council will be meeting as a series of issues relating to its police department have cropped up, and there will be meetings of the Urban Land Institute’s Technical Assistance Panel for the Greenbelt Road Corridor Improvements Project, the results of which will inform policy decisions relating to development and transportation infrastructure along that critical corridor. Look for coverage on those issues, and a few others, as the week develops.
That’s all I have for now. Feel free to reach out to me with any feedback! Thanks again for your patronage of Route 1 Reporter.