A lot of things have surprised me since we started The Dispatch. I won’t bore you with the business and management stuff. Suffice it to say a couple of the things I thought would be hard were easy. All of the stuff I thought would be easy turned out to be harder than planned. And, obviously, in retrospect I should have known that interns are actually covered under the Geneva Convention and other relevant international treaties and domestic laws—just like normal people! Who knew?
A more relevant shock has been the feedback from readers—in the comment sections to be sure, but also in email, chance encounters with regular Americans, and even in off-the-record conversations with D.C. muckety-mucks. Specifically, it’s been a really pleasant surprise to see how many people get it.
We all have favorite writers and journalists at other publications who do great work. We all have other institutions we admire. Nonetheless, people understand that we’re providing something that’s missing out there. Again, I don’t mean you can’t find good stuff in other places—you can. What I mean is that there’s not enough of the kind of thing we’re trying to provide and what there is can be hard to find amidst all the noise. And we’re working night and day to do it in one place.
Obviously, we hoped people would respond positively. Steve and I wouldn’t have started The Dispatch if we didn’t think that was possible. But if you ever had a hope or wish or goal you’ve worked toward finally start to come true, it can still feel like a bolt out of the blue.