About the Author: Heath Kern Gibson is the Editor-in-Chief of DipNote.
It was one year ago today that the DipNote team sat at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel during the UN General Assembly and turned on the switch to launch this blog. Two million page views, 4,126 comments and 2,801 RSS feeds later, DipNote turns one year old.
With Dan Schaub and Eric Jones manning the operation from Washington, Jeff Jackson, DipNote’s senior technology advisor, and I sat in a cramped hotel room and watched as DipNote came to life on the Internet. We tested its applications, saw that all worked, and were thrilled there were no apparent glitches. At that point, we decided to go down to the hotel bar and celebrate our launch.
The bar was dark, and at 5:30pm, quite empty. As we sat and strategized about how to make this blog succeed, I said we had to have one big “get” -- a splashy entry from a well known person to put the blog on the map. Four people walked in and Jeff became distracted.
“Is that? No. I thought that woman was Angelina Jolie,” he said.
I turned around; the face was clearly that of a movie star.
“Jeff, that is Angelina Jolie. I have to get her to do an interview for the blog.”
Jolie had spent the past several years earning her foreign policy credentials by taking various trips around the world promoting humanitarian causes. I was certain she would jump at the chance to participate in a bona fide foreign policy venue. I couldn’t help myself: what did I have to lose? I walked over to Jolie, introduced myself and made my request. She lit up like a Christmas tree when I told her I was from the United States Department of State, but turned me down for an interview. To be fair to Jolie, she couldn’t have been any more gracious considering this intruder was accosting her as she tried to have a drink with some friends.
I was wrong about the big “get.” Within weeks of launch, I realized I had underestimated you, the public. Our readers did not need a movie star to make this blog interesting. In fact, you have showed us time and time again you want smart and informative policy information and dialogue. A year later, it has become such a pleasure to watch as you all take over the blog. While we provide the posts, the back and forth debate gives each post a far more interesting and informative context. I firmly believe a blog’s greatest service is in getting disparate voices from varied geographical regions together in a way that would have been impossible prior to the advent of blogs. A recent posting on the UN had bloggers from Sudan, the United States, the Netherlands, the United Arab Emirates, Nigeria, and Pakistan posting responses. Global issues demand global dialogue, and it is the breakdown of geographical boundaries in the virtual world that will ultimately lead to greater understanding among people from different countries.
The staff and founders of DipNote -- Sean McCormack, Heath Kern Gibson, Jeff Jackson, Dan Schaub, Eric Jones, Luke Forgerson and Tamika Johnson -- thank you for making this year a success.