My new job and its effect on my blogging.

I started a job with the White House about two and a half weeks ago. (For you federal government geeks, it’s via an assignment from the GSA, which in turn is via an IPA from UVA.) The plan is to take the train up to D.C. once a week, and work in Charlottesville for the rest of the week. I have waited this long to write about it here because I’ve been hoping that I could write the work that I’m doing, because I think it’s interesting and exciting. But the specifics of my project are still confidential, and are likely to be for at least another few weeks, and I don’t think it’s fair to wait that long to say anything, since it affects what I’ll be writing about here. Suffice it to say it pertains to open government technology.

The effect of this is that I will not be blogging about partisan politics for the duration, and generally avoiding political matters. Nobody has told me to do this, or even suggested it obliquely. It’s no in way a requirement of the job. But I think it’s the right thing, for one simple reason: I don’t think I can write honestly about politics if I’m going to make my living working for the president. I could try, but I don’t think I could avoid bias, no matter how convinced I might be that I was exhibiting none. I have restricted my writing accordingly for the past two weeks, and I’m more or less happy with the balance that I have struck.

Oddly, this doesn’t conflict with my other new line of work, as a John S. and James L. Knight Foundation News Challenge Fellow, building The State Decoded. That’s because my $160,000 grant hasn’t actually arrived yet and, based on the paperwork that I got in the mail today, it looks like it won’t for another couple of months. So The State Decoded remains an evenings-and-weekends project for me (though less so with this new job—the folks at the White House work all the time, and I’m just trying to keep up) until I complete this project and return to my prior commitment with the Knight Foundation.

I’m having an adventure.

14 thoughts on “My new job and its effect on my blogging.”

  1. Well, that sucks that you’ll be blogging less about politics. I hope that you define “partisan politics” narrowly.

    But congratulations on your adventure!

  2. Can I pick up the partisan stick? The Republicans are creating a very target-rich environment for 2012! Hate to waste a good opportunity to whip the dwarf-statesmen of the right.

  3. Congrats, Waldo!

    I’m excited to find out more about this mysterious open government project that you’ve been working on.

  4. Pretty freakin’ awesome. Is this related in any way to the snippet from your last post?

    This summer the FDA asked me to advise on how to improve the efficiency of the process by which they approve breakthrough medical technologies. I declined, and instead spent some time advising them on how to overhaul the process by which everything *else*—all the boring stuff—gets approved.

  5. I always took you for the upwardly mobile type. Good luck. Does this mean you’ll be getting that windmill for the house, whether it makes any economic sense or not? But what I really wonder about is what does this mean for Richmond Sunlight?

  6. Pretty freakin’ awesome. Is this related in any way to the snippet from your last post?

    Only insofar as they both stem from OSTP’s apparent interest in me. :)

    Does this mean you’ll be getting that windmill for the house, whether it makes any economic sense or not?

    Unfortunately, this position carries with it no increase in pay whatsoever, so, no. :)

    But what I really wonder about is what does this mean for Richmond Sunlight?

    I informed the Virginia Interfaith Center—which owns the site—almost a year ago that they need to step up and run the site this year. In theory, everything will continue uninterrupted.

  7. Love reading about the good things coming your way, and respect the way you are handling the realities of being on the President’s team. Keep making those of us who “knew you when” proud.

  8. I’ve long liked the advice that you should be nice to people on the way up, because you’re going to pass them on the way back down again (or on their way up past you, as the case may be). It shouldn’t be long until I head back down again. :)

  9. I don’t see you heading down any time soon, Waldo. Unless, of course, there’s a new administration. ;-) In which case they also should hire you.

    Congrats and good luck!

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