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A Change in Format for White House Watch

Welcome to my new blog. It's the same old White House Watch, only different. A new presidency seemed like a good time to shake up my format, and this one has some distinct advantages. I hope you'll agree.

Back when I started writing about the White House, in January 2004, I chose to file once a day, in a long column broken up with subheads. I wasn't initially sure what direction the column would take. Since the Bush White House was so opaque, I figured there would be value in pulling together what little information there was in the public domain. As time went on, I grew attached to writing something that had a beginning, a middle and an end, at least in part because certain recurring themes often wound their way through the column.

But so much will be different with this administration, I decided a change in format was called for. One advantage of the new format is that each item will exist as its own post, allowing readers (and bloggers) to respond individually to the specific items. I'll also be keywording my posts, allowing me to build up rich resource pages on the key themes and key players of the new administration. On my side of things, the new production system won't have some of the annoying hang-ups of the old one, and I can embed relevant photos and video; on your side of things, it will make my work easier to follow via RSS and Twitter and so on.

I also expect that I'll be posting some items earlier in the day, rather than just once at mid-day -- and sometimes in the afternoons, as the situation warrants.

The format change will be gradual, as I tweak this and that -- partly in response to your comments. So let me know what you think.

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 28, 2009; 10:00 AM ET
 
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Comments

I'll miss the old format. The comprehensiveness of your old column was part of its power.

Your column helped keep my sane for the past 5+ years. Even though that reason no longer exists, I still appreciated the convenience of reading all your analysis in one place. I also much prefer the previous comments section format to this one.

I'm sure I'll get used to the new format but this is one change I'm not overjoyed about.

Posted by: solsticebelle | January 28, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

So change has come . . . to White House Watch! I'll be interested to see how the new format goes. Always enjoyed the comprehensive nature of the daily columns.

Can we assume you're writing your own headlines now, too? Or was that always the case?

Enjoy the new level of gov't transparency -- I know you'll be the first to tell us if/when the curtain starts to get drawn back . . .

Posted by: KristolGale | January 28, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

This is better. Will there be a Twitter?

Posted by: wp11234 | January 28, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

But... I always use the print format, double sided. Usually takes three pages. I then read it when I take breaks walking my dogs or while I'm eating or traveling. For mobility, there needs to be an option to print any specific days content (with or without comments). Great column.

Posted by: ls11231 | January 28, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Not trying to be a whinner or deliver any ultimatum, but you will likely be losing me as a regular reader with this format change. I want to check once a day, print the column out so I can read it while on the go, and that's pretty much it. Maybe my approach to reading the column in old fashioned, but that is what fits my needs. I have no desire in coming to this site multiple times a day to catch bits and pieces as they are posted.

Oh well. It was great while it lasted...

Posted by: dbushik | January 28, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

I agree with solisticebelle - I liked the comprehensiveness of the old blog. This one will take getting used to - it is alot like Dana Milbank's. I like the new graphic though!

Posted by: cpusss | January 28, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

will you still be offering links to cartoons of the day?

Posted by: paulinlodi | January 28, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

I guess I am a Luddite, but I really think this is a bad idea. The comprehensiveness of the old format will be sorely missed.

Posted by: Honus | January 28, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Your older format was much better. I have tried during the Bush years to check in with you once a day. Being an alter cocker, I relate to words rather than 'twitters'. Please retain the older format!

Alan

Posted by: apolinsky | January 28, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

I'm totally with ls11231. Dan, you've always made my train ride home more bearable. I'd like to continue printing a whole day's worth of writing in one shot and read it on the way home.

Doable?

Posted by: jimcnelis | January 28, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Dan- I don't mind the change in format so much. However, I particularly dislike the "Continue reading this post" feature. It prevents me from copying the complete text and pasting it in Word and printing it off for reading on Metro. The former "print" version facilitated that nicely.

Posted by: thomthom | January 28, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I've been a pretty active reader for a while, going back to the "White House Briefing" days and further. I personally liked the once daily posts of the old format, since I'm not likely to be making multiple trips to the website to see what's new. Offering a way for readers to compile multiple posts for viewing or printing might be a good idea.

That said, keep up the good work!

Posted by: diesel4 | January 28, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Hi Dan,

Is this "change we can believe in?"

Like so many other posters, I liked the fixed length of your old blog (5 pages on the computer), and looked forward to reading it while taking a break from work.

However, this is the era of change. You won't lose me as a reader. Best of Luck.

If it doesn't work out, the old format will always be welcome.

Posted by: JoeM1 | January 28, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I have to agree with some of your other readers: the once-a-day format was perfect to digest whether during lunch hour or on the train home. With so much electronic chatter these days, a nice, tidy bit of real journalism was a nice break.

I'll still read your column. And thanks for the years of excellent columns.

Posted by: dhill4 | January 28, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

While change is good, I do agree with a majority of readers here that change for change's sake is not always a plus. For all of the above reasons, I enjoyed the "old" (the "43-format" shall we?) blog and I am waiting as long as I possibly can to start using the word and verb, Twitter, in my life.

sent from my iPhone (kidding)

Posted by: c420ach | January 28, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, just want to confirm, this new format has me bidding you good bye as a daily read.

I tried going through todays items, and frankly I don't want to have to click so many times and move from page to page to get this info. You've gone from being a three click read in a single browser window (my link to the opinions page - the link to your current post - one page/print view link) to being today a six click read on four sepperate browser windows.

Additionally, you may post more today meaning more windows and clicks and me having to come back multiple times to check if there is anything.

This is not better from my POV. Thanks for the terrific information over the past few years, but this is likely it for me if you are going to break this column up into a half dozen or more bits I have to sort through every day. If you don't have a single page option for all posts from a single day (without any "continue reading this post" links), I can't say I have the desire to go through the effort.

Posted by: dbushik | January 28, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

The cartoons are often the pithiest analysis of the day, going places few writers dare. Will they be back?

And I really am dependent on bold face subject headings.

Miss old format.

Posted by: Cognomen08 | January 28, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

I agree about the cartoons.

But, unfortunately, the "new" format means that America-hating neocons can post and not be obviously loony-tunes since we can't tell that noone agrees with their posts.

Bad change.

Posted by: WillSeattle | January 28, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

For those of us who read online, the new format is an annoyance, nothing more. Like so many others, I liked having all the pieces in one place so I can read them all together. Never knowing whether another piece is coming, I will likely miss a great deal of what you say.

Another issue is the fact that I distribute you articles via e-mail to several people. I can't do that now...not easily anyway. There's no e-mail link anymore. And if there was, I'd still have to do it several times.

Anyway you can do a single point summary with an e-mail link? Otherwise, it sounds like many, including myself and those I distribute to, will miss much of your thoughts and comments.

That can't be a good thing...

Posted by: LarryL1 | January 28, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry, I really don't like the new format. I consider your column to be a tremendous resource for current information on so many topics. But I can't follow this new format, and I can't log in several times a day to check on the status.

Thanks for getting me through the past administration.

Posted by: keenreader | January 28, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Dan, you can do no wrong in my book; thank you for 5 + years of great coverage, and I look forward to reading you in the new format. My boss won't like it, 'cause now I can look for you all day, as opposed to just after lunch ! kudos and bravo, stay warm !!

Posted by: mkassio | January 28, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Add me to the don't like the new format column. Too many clicks, too many different visits req'd. The old version was consise & easy to read-this is too scattered & will require too much of my time.

If you want readers to be able to comment on specific subjects I'm sure there is a way the Wapo techies can do something about that (or find a 10 yr old-you KNOW they can!), but if that's the only reason for the change, that's just not good enough.

Posted by: txrus | January 28, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Yuck. The old format was a nice, single column that I could print (yes, gasp, print) to read on the way home, coming back later to click on the links I was interested in. It had a (reasonably) reliable posting time when I could check for it. It had a link on the front page.

Now it looks like all the other blogs on this site, and it will probably get buried on the blog page.

Too bad.

Posted by: PharPhlungPhillyPhan | January 28, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Knowing you & others must have worked hard, I'm sorry to say I really don't like the new format.

I, too, can't visit multiple times in a day, but print, read & LOVE your column while walking at lunch. Is it possible to give us Luddites an easy way to print an entire day's posts?

Thank you SO MUCH for getting me through the Bush administration years.

Posted by: tiredgirlie | January 28, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Even just right now at the beginning of the new format, I just had, like, 20 different things pop up on my RSS feed for the discrete posts. That could get annoying fast and cause me to unsubscribe. I really enjoyed the once-a-day format.

Posted by: beryl2 | January 28, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Dan, your column was one of the bright spots of U.S. journalism during the Bush II years. It pierced the fog of officialdom and poor reporting, backed up its arguments with evidence, and generally refused to allow the perfidies of the White House to slip into the past.

But I agree with most of the other commenters: I found the old format more convenient and more powerful. I already read microposts from many blogs, but yours was in the "Vitals" folder of my RSS reader, not least because it provided a heck of a lot of content with a single click. This new format has little to offer, from this reader's perspective.

Posted by: newswatcher2 | January 28, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I so agree with keenreader’s “Thanks for getting me through the past administration.”
You are essential daily reading.
Wouldn’t an easily scrollable variation of Time’s Swampland, Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish, or ABC News’ Political Punch serve your purpose? Although that leaves printability issues.

Posted by: Cognomen08 | January 28, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Would like to be able to print off the entire day's post without the comments.

Posted by: psp747 | January 28, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

I liked the old format much better. It was all there in one place and easy to print off at one time.

Posted by: psp747 | January 28, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

In my RSS reader, the author of the posts is listed as "White House Watch - News on President George W Bush and the Bush Administration".

Might want to update that.

Posted by: billmason | January 28, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

don't like the new format as i also liked the complete one time post, printed it each and every day and read it at lunch.

please re-consider making the post once daily again.

Posted by: ifightfascists | January 28, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

The best part of the old format was the condensation of massive information into a thematic and incredibly well laid out column - the work of a consummate journalist. By moving to a Twitter-friendly medium, I'm afraid a lot of thoughtful insight will be lost in a plethora of tossed around "sound bite" comments.

All the same, I will do my best to stick it out in the hopes that you will transcend the mindless barely-news inanities that plague so many other blogs.

And please, keep on posting the cartoons. It's a bright ray of sunshine during a day's work.

Posted by: brownbagger46 | January 28, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Same as many here:

1. Your column indispensable. thank you.
2. Like having your analysis in one long printable column.
3. Live for the cartoon links. Perhaps those can be their own article each day?
4. I frequently click through to the source articles you highlight for more details.
5. Any way to tag each column by day, retrieve and print for offline use? Perhaps using the RSS feed?

Posted by: DigiMark | January 28, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Well count me out. I've enjoyed reading the whole thing. I can scan a paragraph and see if I want to read it carefully or skip on. With the new format, it looks like have to click on a jillion things without any idea of their content. I'll pass on that.

Posted by: rnitram | January 28, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the other commenters. I've loved this column and all your great insights. It was so helpful to have all the day's highlights in one place. As with other commenters, I don't have the luxury of being able to check in several times a day. This was my favorite blog precisely because I could go there once, print it out, take it to read on the train, at lunch, at the gym, etc. If you can arrange a click and print of all subjects that would be great and would encourage me to tough it out. Keep up the great work. I really respect and look forward to your take on political happenings.

Posted by: WAnita | January 28, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

I also think this new format is very bad idea. I'm one of the many who have printed out your column every day to read later. I loved the way your old format condensed so much information into one column. Thank you for helping to save my sanity during the Bush Administration.

Posted by: mdonoghue | January 28, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Dan: Maybe it's obvious, but I can't find where your new blog is posted. Your column almost always was posted in the "Opinion" section. Help!!!

Posted by: jefinch | January 28, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Please! Please! Go back to the old format. It was perfect. It was just the right length to read during lunch, and in the PRINT version I could easily hit the page down key while balancing my lunch on one knee and the spoon in the other hand. A nice long toothy read in swell foop. I hate it when IT people make things 'better', usually all they make is headaches. The only advantage of clicking through all these pages is that the post gets to display a whole new set of ads each time.

Chances are, I will read at lunch when I always do, and if you post later, I will just miss it, and I am not even sure if I will go back and go through the clicks to read each segment.

Like the others, you got me through the Bush years, bless you for that, but please find a way to just put as much as possible in a print format again.

Posted by: fredfireplace | January 28, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

I hope there is a possibility of changing back to the old format. I agree with many of the comments. It is especially beneficial to receive the entire column and Dan's indispensible comments at one time. I rarely comment, but think if there is any chance to get the old "Dan" back we should all try.

Posted by: sugarburns | January 28, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

I also plead for a return to the old format. Not just for me--although like many other posters, I too only have time to grab the column once per day (and do not have time to follow links).

Primarily I plead for my 87 year old mother, who is a faithful reader of your blog. She handles email but does not surf the web -- and a high point of her day has been reading the column which, once a day, I copy and send to her. I've spent already today much more time than I have to grab segments and forward them. Alas, two until-now very grateful readers may no longer be able to 'tune in.'

Posted by: snowy4 | January 28, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

What Dan isn't mentioning is that the new layout permits the Post to display more obnoxious advertising. That's the first thing I noticed.

Great column, though. Read it every day. Have done for a long time. Keep up the good legwork and the excellent writing.

Posted by: group5 | January 28, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

I guess I am with the naysayers. Froomkin has been essential daily reading for several years, and I probably will keep looking in now and then, but the balkanized format is irritating and I am less likely to read as thoroughly. Very disappointing, but I would add my thanks to the many others who have expressed appreciation for the excellent work of the past. Sometimes, however, the medium really does make a difference, and this change seems to make a difference for the worse.

Posted by: tfdill | January 28, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Dan, I prefer the old format. A one-time comprehensive read works better for me. That said, (sigh) I'll try to keep up. As others have said before me, your compilations and thoughts were what got us through the insanity-tinged Bush years. Thank you.

Posted by: laelyn | January 28, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the many, many comments from folks who like to print out your column to read during lunch or for the commute home (or once home). I hope the Post IT folks can figure out a way to wrap up all posts into a single view (printable) format. If isn't broke, why fix it?

Posted by: mk4146 | January 28, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I love the clean new look of Froomkin v.44 and I know I will enjoy stopping in several times a day instead of having to leave the old 5-page column "hanging somewhere in the middle" every time I had to multitask throughout the day.

I rarely commented on the old column because I knew my comments would be lost in the other 500 comments relating to 20 different topics. Look forward to my point of view much more often.

Easily digestible chunks are the bomb.

Posted by: FlyingSpaghettiMonster | January 28, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Your previous format was the most thorough coverage of the presidency to be found on the web. Much of the value it offered will now be diminished. This is not a change that I -- and many others -- will be able to believe in.

As for your declaring as your main reason for the change that we now have a new president, let me point out that the only spokespeople appearing on TV nowadays are the congressional Republicans. They now seem to be in charge of everything. So, with the Democrats still not in control of our government, we need your incisive and extensive coverage more than ever!

Posted by: BuffaloHarold | January 28, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Dan, I'm sorry, I hate this change. I always print out your column - all nine pages - and read it. This new arrangement makes your column look equivalent to Weingarten's, who just froths at the mouth and talks dirty. [Sorry, Gene]

Posted by: narthex | January 28, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Froomkin's columns have been enormously informative over the years, and I have followed them closely. Thank you!

I don't like the new format. The presentation is too diffuse. And while seeing the comments can sometimes be amusing, I suspect most of the time reading them will just waste my time. I go to the Washsisngton Post for professional news analysis, not to read emotional diatribes by amateurs.

Posted by: Edwin28 | January 28, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

And the cartoon of you isn't helping with the Weingarten-clone thing.

Posted by: narthex | January 28, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

New format is NOT good.

I know change is always hard but this isn't an improvement - it's a dressing-down so WHW fits into the poor "Voices" format of the WaPo "journalists" who disdain bloggers yet are terrible at both blogging and reporting. Dan Froomkin's column has always stood out as informative, engaging, and unique, but now it joins the humdrum masses of pseudo-blogs from corporate papers (format-wise, hopefully not content-wise), where the "blogs" of the WaPo are little different from the "blogs" of the Seattle P-I.

The "continue reading" link is terrible, though I suppose it helps the corporate masters determine which posts get more hits and is therefore necessary.
And why have all the separate posts if they're being posted 1-3 minutes apart? It's about your rich content, not the number of items you post.

Please go back, or at least partly back, to your original, long, comprehensive format. I understand it takes longer that way, but lots of shorter posts broken up that we have to click on is too much of a cluster-jumble, worthy only of the limited attention span iPod-wearing, text-thumbing, caffeine-addicted generation that corporate money plays to. Please.

Posted by: TonyR1 | January 28, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

I'll try to get used to the new format, but I really liked the compact nature of your earlier format. I hope you'll "change" back if your readers "vote" for the change.

Posted by: Barbara5 | January 28, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

I vote to return to the old format, also. That allowed me to entirely ignore the "comments" from the Internet sociopaths.

Posted by: AnotherMichael | January 28, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Been reading you all through the Bush years. Your good. Would print out the column and read it while sitting in my lounge chair or at the kitchen table over a late cup of coffee. You're right - change happens. I'll check back with you in a few weeks to see if you've made any adjustments. Otherwise, have a good life.

Posted by: spiel1 | January 28, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse


1. Agree with ls11231 and others who prefer old format — or at least want a printable link for all info written. It was great to be able to copy your entire column onto a two-column Word doc and reduce font size to (a readable for me) 9 point. This looked official enough to be read in meetings — a great diversion to their dullness.

2. Old format was concise and comprehensive. (Plus, it was interesting to see comment recommendations.)

3. Please continue cartoon links.

4. Thank you for smoke & mirror patrol during 43's reign.

Posted by: tperry1 | January 28, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Don't think I'm crazy about the new format, either. Sorry. Your columns before were often the only thing that kept me going. Thank you for that.

Posted by: reyvee | January 28, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

I'v always enjoyed reading your colum in its entirety but i'll have no problem with the new format since I file the info by topics that I follow seriously for furture reference (hopefully by my grandchildren as well: I don't want the Bushies to have gotten away with it all). Sincerely, Walter J. White

Posted by: wjwassoc | January 28, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Adding to the echoes in the echo chamber:

1. Dan, for me your column has been an oasis of sanity for the past four years, so I want to keep reading.
2. Like many, I have tended to print out the whole column and read it at leisure.
3. By far the most inconvenient features of the new format are these: (a) The necessity to click something to "keep reading" each posting. (b) The automatic inclusion of comments in the full column that results from the click. (c) The absence of a daily consolidation feature.
4. Suggestions for a fix: (a) Keep the entire text of a given posting on one page. Require clicking only to access the NEXT post. (b) Do not automatically include comments with the full posting -- that should require an additional click. (c) Include a daily consolidation feature at the end of each day, so that the once-a-day readers & printers can collect a complete set of postings MINUS the (often crazy & annoying) comments.

Posted by: SeattleVoter | January 28, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

I'll give this a whirl, BUT I really liked the prior format. If the bold letters didn't interest me, I could skip to the next step. The links for further info were also intriguing if I wanted to pursue the subject further. As for the videos and cartoons, for the past few years they have been rays of sunshine in the middle of some very gloomy days. But, I will try, even if I'm downhearted about it.

Posted by: JSEWELL3 | January 28, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Dan...You're great.


The new format is, we1l...Bushy.

It stinks!

Posted by: willandjansdad1 | January 28, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Pros and cons to any change. The granularity of posts will have some distinct advantages.

What will be missing, however, is your analysis that tied it all together. Sometimes people can't always connect the dots for themselves. If there will still be a way for your analysis across multiple themes to help us see the patterns, that could still be helpful.

Posted by: msp81 | January 28, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

As one of your elderly readers, I have my "Text Size" set to "Largest". With the new format, I can't change the text size. I hope that you will fix that.

Posted by: dickdata | January 28, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Froomkin -- You appear to be cloning Chris Cillizza's format. I stopped reading his blogs months ago, and now I suspect that I will stop reading you. I liked clicking on your one, comrepehensive blog each day and often felt as if I were in a Froomkin-withdrawal when you took a day off. I appreciate all that you did you gather information about the Bush Administration in one place, but I doubt that I will be a regular reader any more. Good luck with your format. From the sounds of your long-time readers, the new format is not a popular one.

Posted by: marmac5 | January 28, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the "disappointeds" above. Your column has been my late lunch reading material or, more often, my printed-out train ride home. This is much less convenient. At the very least, there should be a way of quickly printing out the day's items in a single document for those of us who commute and don't want to stare at a small screen on a train, bus, etc.

Posted by: mbroch | January 28, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Hi everyone and thanks for all the kinds words and (mostly) constructive criticism. As far as printing out a day's worth of posts, we're working on that. Stay tuned.

Other changes may be forthcoming as well. I'm listening.

And let me just say that the goal here is not to be more superficial. Quite the opposite. There's so much going on and so much being written about Obama that if I were trying to keep up with it all, like I tried to with Bush, I would go nuts. My hope is that this new format will actually allow me to delve more deeply into key issues, just like I outlined in my essay on Change last week: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/white-house-watch/2009/01/change.html

Posted by: DanFroomkin | January 28, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

I really liked the old format, and it was staple of my lunch reading as well. But I'm willing to give the new format a try. As it was, most of your columns were jam-packed, and a 3rd, 4th or 7th "Watch" subject might be worthy of a headline on its own, and the new format would help with that.

Posted by: Bat99 | January 28, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Love it!

Posted by: tailwagger | January 28, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Very nice, I appreciate that you're staying fresh and delving a bit deeper into each topic. I have one suggestion, when there's a jump, will you please put it in a new tab? Having to hit the back button to return to the original post is time-consuming. Have loved your column for some time now. Thanks for remaining one of the few sane voices during the last 8 years!

Posted by: pkinwa | January 28, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

I am delighted with the new format. It gives me even more meat than the old one and as time goes on will provide more complete tracking of all the various issues. Being a huge fan of your work, to me this new format is just what I would have wished for. But it does appear to involve a lot more work on your part (?), but hey, as long as you're up for it...

Posted by: farmhouselady | January 28, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Rock on, Dan. But don't pull any punches if the new guys start acting up. The Clinton Restoration is better than Bush (anything is, for that matter) but that doesn't come with a free pass.

Posted by: sheehanjc | January 28, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Still learning the new format, but I miss the structure of the former all-around approach... like getting to the reliable cartoon links at the end. A great way to segue from a day's concentration on my political update.

Also, it's hard to know if I've managed to read everything... instead of "Recent Posts", could you link to "January 28 Posts"?

Posted by: 4afreepress | January 28, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

I posted before I had read all the comments, and must say I am surprised at all the negatives on the new format. However, I do understand the main points of most of them. Most seem to be working people, or people otherwise short on time, and they need more ease of use. I truly don't think they mean they object to the increased, more in-depth coverage. I am no longer in the work force and so have more time to click through screens, etc., and it's well worth it to me to get what it appears like will be even more information than the old format. But it wasn't always so! I understand where they are coming from and hope you can manage to redesign the new format with their remarks in mind, and that you DO NOT revert back to the straight old format but find ways to deliver the new approach in a much easier-to-use way. Hey, these are computers, this is the internet, I'm sure there are ways to fix this to the satisfaction of all. Please keep up the good work, and to my mind, the more information you can give, the better. There has been such a great need for what you provide.

Posted by: farmhouselady | January 28, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Love your work, been reading you for years -don't like the new format.

Posted by: deadhead75 | January 28, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Not a fan of the change either. As many have posted, I, too, appreciated the "comprehensiveness" of the old (and better) format. And ditto on the cartoons. Please reconsider.

Posted by: McDyess | January 28, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Okey, dokey. A new format because the Obama administration will be more transparent.

If you switch back to the old format, will that mean something has gone wrong in the Obama administration?

Keep up the good work.

Posted by: lbauer9 | January 28, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

In boating we say: If it ain't bust, don't screw with it. Well, your old style wasn't bust. While considering at least adding the print format function, you're on probation. Add it or be gone.

Posted by: geirr | January 28, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

OK now I get the new format. Only saw one post when I first looked, not the rolling series of posts up now.

I hate to say it but it works for me.

Posted by: Cognomen08 | January 28, 2009 7:24 PM | Report abuse

well, tried the new format and must say that i like and enjoy the old format much more.

why ?

if i have been away from an internet connection all day, i could, with ONE stop, read through White House Watch in ONE smooth read through and get all the news / commentary that i needed with that ONE click.

now, it's click on this to get the full post and permalink that and man, that's a lot work for something that i could just click once and read all the way through without clicking on any of the hyperlinks provided if i so desired.

may take off the favs list - too disappointing.

Posted by: flo_mo_t | January 28, 2009 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Absolutely loved the old format, and looked forward to printing it out in one nice piece and reading it after work every afternoon. Don't know that I will be able to regularly make it back multiple times a day to keep up.

This has been my main "portal" for White House information for several years now and while I will try to keep up, it will certainly be less convenient for me to try to do so.

Posted by: rossfromdm | January 28, 2009 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Dan!!!
All that clicking and re-clicking and back-clicking and forward-clicking and…!! Ugh!! Enough already!! It’s driving me nuts!! What were you thinking?? The beauty of the old format is that it was all right there, all at once, marvelously concentrated on one page—and ready to be printed out in a jiffy and digested. I also miss the the thematic arrangement and analysis of the material.

I have been too fiercely loyal a fan of your work for too many years to now threaten, as I noted several readers have done, to not read you anymore on account of this ill-advised change; as is the case with most of your readers, I cannot imagine having gotten through the nightmare of the Bush years without your must-read column, which I anxiously and gratefully consumed without fail every day.

You obviously did not anticipate such an intense and overwhelmingly negative reaction from your readers, or you would not have so blithely sprung this on us. Yet although I really hate to say it, it must be said: the manner in which the new format obliges us to read you—i.e., chasing you around the web in fits and starts via multiple clicks so that we can then read you in dribs and drabs—is not only disconcerting, it’s profoundly irritating. It dissipates and scatters the power of your work, I think. And I guess I just have to trust that the near universality of disapproving reader reaction in the comments will cause you to reconsider. Please do. (Also, can we do without the hokey artwork? It looks ugly and kind of cheap.)

Meanwhile, let me say I still think you’re great—right up there, in my book, with the ferocious Glenzilla and the incomparable Digby. Keep up your usual fabulous and essential work.

Best,
Ralph

Posted by: sepulveda1323 | January 28, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse

It hard to embrace change when your old column seemed perfect as it was (certainly my favorite part of the Post), but I'm game. I'm sure the benefits of your new format will make themselves apparent as time goes on.

Drama wise, you may have made a mistake killing off the character of Bush, I hope you bring him back as a villain in future season.

Posted by: dbuskirk7 | January 28, 2009 8:32 PM | Report abuse

I agree with solisticebelle, mbroch, marmac5 and apparently many others - I much prefer the old format. When I didn't have time to read the whole newspaper, I knew that just reading your column gave me a pretty good idea of anything important going on. One entry per day also means that if I missed a day, it's pretty simple to look back at yesterday's entry and catch up. I'm thrilled, ecstatic, grateful about the change at the White House (relieved that I no longer have to apologize for my country when I talk to people here in Germany), but change at the White House Watch is not needed.

Posted by: ex-pat | January 28, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

I can't keep signing in and out to check out the blog plus I want to print out an entire day's column in one felled swoop so I can read it at my leisure, as I am used to doing. Please return to the old format or give us the option of a single printout. You have gone the way of NBC First Read and ABC The Note and frankly, it stinks.

Posted by: MichaelWinship | January 28, 2009 9:20 PM | Report abuse

As many readers have noted I loved the flow and comprehensiveness of the old column, and looked forward to the editorial cartoons at the end. However I'm willing to give the new format a try. It's the least I can do considering that your column has kept me sane for the last 6 years. However I hope you'll be pragmatic and open to feedback and change (much like our new President)!

Posted by: sambam | January 28, 2009 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Please, Dan, can we still get a print function that will strip the ads? I've got a chronic illness and my husband knows you're my one must read each day. He prints it out for me whenever I'm too ill to do it myself. I'll be devastated if there is no easy way to print and get my daily Froomkin fix.

Posted by: kainah | January 28, 2009 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Well, it was good while it lasted, and was my nightcap for many a night. Everyone at work knew who it was who printed Froomkin every day - they'd put it in my mailbox when they picked up their stuff. Maybe it's a generational thing to like the old format, but looking at the response of so many loyal readers makes me think not. The real question will be whether you have the option to return or whether this was put upon you (and, in passing, us).
Some, not all, change is good. Froomkin is made for concise links and one click printing for the ride home. Sorry - I want it back the way it was.

Posted by: sld5 | January 28, 2009 10:51 PM | Report abuse

One more vote of preference for the old format. Users are notorious for skimming when reading online and the new blog style actually encourages skimming of your content. It was precisely the fact that the old format had a beginning, middle and end that encouraged users to read the complete article.

Also, they need to update the blog directory. It still reads "...on the Bush administration."

Posted by: samantha3 | January 28, 2009 11:06 PM | Report abuse

I read your column religiously. I agree with what appears to be the consensus here: this new format is not a positive. One of the strengths of your old format was the comprehensiveness of it. Now it seems it's been changed to look like all the other blogs I've typically avoided largely because they are too difficult to digest (this "continue reading this post" feature is a real pain in the arse). I used to be a daily visitor, but I think that will not be the case anymore (watch, your traffic will go down considerably). Change for the sake of change is not a good thing.

Posted by: johnself | January 29, 2009 12:20 AM | Report abuse

You've always written so much each day, it'll be difficult to keep up.

Posted by: Andrah | January 29, 2009 12:22 AM | Report abuse

A couple comments on the new format:
1) I didn't see this earlier as I didn't scroll down the page. Whereas I used to know there were 5 pages. OK, change is...change.
2) I never learned to like this format when used for other WaPo columnists such as Dana Milbank. The comments less well integrated with the breadth of the news day.
3) I like being able to see a wide range of information when I finally get to read WhiteHouse Watch - frequently 11pm Pacific time. The WHW format allowed me to scroll through it all, and Dan seemed to prioritize at the top.
4) I think there's a benefit to posting once a day in that the columnist can digest and prioritize stories. yeah, there's some staleness, but I'll take thoughtful Froomkin over thoughtIless Drudge any day.
5) I liked the ability to trace commenters. It kept me on my toes, too.
6) I also liked the ability to "pile on" to other comments with which I agreed. It saved me rehashing and also gave some weight to vox populi. I honestly think the cognitive dissonance I, and many other readers, felt in 2004 Bush years was my own, until it was echoed by other commenters.
7) If you can eliminate the bobmoses postings, the world would be a better place.

Posted by: boscobobb | January 29, 2009 2:01 AM | Report abuse

Oh, please, don't change it like this! When I choose to read something, I want to read it. I don't want to get half way into a train of thought and have to click to read more. I just want to read it from start to finish without interruption.

Don't like the idea of attached videos either. Link to videos, but I don't want to watch videos in the middle of text. I want to read what you have to SAY about them, I'll watch them elsewhere if I want to.

I don't like an ongoing all day post either, I want to read it all at the same time. I haven't time to keep dropping in. I guess I've come to think of you more as a columnist than a blogger, which I think is reflected in the comments you are getting.

And are you sure you want to be a cartoon?

Posted by: collingwood11 | January 29, 2009 4:40 AM | Report abuse

Why not put up a box where people can vote on which format they prefer and see the results?

I much prefer the old format and find the "Continue reading .." particularly annoying.

Posted by: bill78 | January 29, 2009 7:44 AM | Report abuse

I liked the old format but like this new format much better. I can send links to friends without cutting and pasting individual items or sending the whole article.

Posted by: jak201 | January 29, 2009 8:02 AM | Report abuse


In bipartisan spirit on format change:

"We weren't consulted! We weren't consulted!"

Posted by: tperry1 | January 29, 2009 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Dan,
I like the new format, but my goodness you got a lot of negative feedback. I would give your readers the best of both worlds. Keep the new format, but have one of your web designers set up a "Print Today's Posting" at the top of the page. This feature could simply aggregate all of the day's postings in one place and present it in the old format. Then everyone will be happy!

Posted by: HJH2 | January 29, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

If the interface could display a version with no jumps, and there was a printable version of all the day's postings, you'd address most of your readers' concerns, and keep us able to read it all at once -- once a day over a late lunch perhaps, as I often do.

It is a great compliment actually that people prefer to read the whole thing.

The new format is definitely better for incorporating content into the wider Web and other formats. Building up a large tag library will be very cool. I wonder what would have been the largest tag during the Bush years... probably "TORTURE".

Hopefully the Post's platform supports the features you need to make everybody happy.

Posted by: nate32x | January 29, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

I find your new format causes problems for me. I do not have time to read online or print many items on-line. Before I opened your blog, pressed print and printed the entire blog, ranging from 4 to 10 pages, and then read it when I could, away from my computer. Now I will have to stop reading your blog, and will miss it!

Posted by: jcalton | January 29, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Day two.....don't care for it!I realize that you lost a wealth of material when Bush left office, but I don't understand the need to change the format. However, I respect your writing too much to stop reading....

Posted by: eallman | January 29, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

i'm bummed out about this. the last thing i want to do is read ANOTHER blog. i enjoyed the comprehensive format, and i really get sick of checking these blogs 4 times a day. i guess now i'll either just read it at the end of the day or not at all. too bad.

Posted by: whodeykm | January 29, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Beloved Froomkin,

Your old format column was one of the high points of the last depressing days
of King George. One of the greatest columns in newspaper/online opinion sections in the history of journalism and
I miss it already; but good luck with your new format.

Posted by: EDM2 | January 29, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Although I am a faithfully reader of your column, I have to agree with the great majority who dislike the new format. I will probably continue to check it out into next week out of force of habit, but am certain that I will gradually drift away from it. I miss the comprehensive, single article format, which allowed me to quickly read your work during my lunch break. You don't necessarily need to return to the old format in every respect, but please reconsider your current format. Just my two cents (adjusted for inflation).

Posted by: MissouriBoy1 | January 29, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

I have to agree - I do like the old format better. I liked the comprehensive format and it was much easier to print. I'll only come here once a day, so whatever you've said up to that point is all I'll get until the next day. If you're satisfied with your readers only getting snippets, I guess that's your decision. I would guess that you might lose some readership, but, what the hay, right?

Posted by: kentuckywoman | January 29, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Your column has been required reading for anyone who truly wanted to understand what was going on in the disastrous Bush Administration. Like others here, I much prefer the old format. It was a remarkable distillation of current White House events by an extraordinary journalist.

Posted by: 4sl5t | January 29, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

I think that you will continue to gargle gorilla semen --- by choice

Posted by: ImpeachObama | January 29, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

I do not like the new format. Waaaaay too fragmented. I have been reading White House Watch for the past few years, but I am not so sure I will continue with this massive change. I already get daily headlines in my email from numerous news sources, and now WHW feels pretty redundant. Alas........

Posted by: kgeakin | January 29, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Liked the old format much better -- very CONCISE, EASY TO READ, EASY TO PRINT. Really Dan, please bring back the old version. It was not broke, it did not need to be fixed...

Posted by: nina-nyc | January 29, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Another geezer says: Gee, Twittering, key words, all that junk. I guess some of us must be old-fashioned, prefering things like words put together to form sentences, expressing thoughts, and presented in a structure with beginning, middle and end, like life, instead of a snippet from YouTube.
Those were the days.

Posted by: arty1 | January 29, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Dan, I'm very disappointed. You have been demoted from a columnist to just another blogger. Your column was much better when it could be read as a single narrative from start to end. I'm just so disappointed that your paper is letting this column evaporate in favor of this dopey blog format. I think that you're going to find that only your newer posts get read.

On another note, HOW MANY TIMES IS YOUR STUPID NEWSPAPER GOING TO FORCE ME TO LOG IN? I have had to manually reenter my user name and password a dozen times already. This is BULLSH1T...

Posted by: jerkhoff | January 29, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Another "thank you" and another comment about how good the old format was.

Until recently, this Luddite had only dial-up. (We now piggy-back, with permission, on our neighbors' WiFi.) I, too, printed out the entire column, which allowed me to share it with my computer illiteral (but slowly learning) husband.

On the other hand, I do like more easily picking and choosing the subjects I want to read about.

So, compromise? There must be an easy way to provide an alternative "one-stream no-comment" link, tho to be sure to get the day's whole post one would have to wait until later in the day. But the vast majority of posters seem to prefer to have the old format back, so simulating in some way would be nice.

Posted by: RealCalGal | January 29, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Too many clicks, too much back and forth. This column has been my bit of sanity for a long time and I'll try to keep up, but I am pretty sure I will be reading it less and less as the annoying new format pushes it lower down my list of "must-read" priorities. Judging by all the previous comments, I am not alone...

Posted by: Voodoodiver | January 29, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Agree with solsticebelle. I really dug the old format's broad coverage, superb links, analysis mixed with review.
If it is YOUR decision, pls reconsider & bring it back.
Also - pls make it easy to PRINT the posts - I print at work, then read on the way home every nite.....
Thx for exemplary work in last years...
B

Posted by: bstewart5 | January 29, 2009 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Yuck!

Posted by: colton | January 29, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

One more suggestion:
do like FiveThirtyEight.com does and instead of the "keep reading" link, make the clickable "there's more" and "contract post" option - I don't know the technical detail of that but the entire page DOESN'T have to reload (like WaPo does now) and it simply expands the remainder of the post below (and contracts it if you click again).
This is of course only if you must keep these contracted posts (please don't - it's unnecessary and annoying). Just have the full entry posted instead, please.
Thanks Dan Froomkin and keep up the good work.

Posted by: TonyR1 | January 29, 2009 8:06 PM | Report abuse

On a scale of 1 to 10...I give your column/s content an 11 and the new format a 0.

If you decide to stick with it...I/d go as high as 8 on format...if...the RSS feed into my reader showed the entire post.

signed...*Daily Reader* from _Day One_.

PS: 'mywashingtonpost.com' still headlines your column as "White House Briefing!"

Posted by: toweringqs | January 29, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Dan, It's time to acknowledge the new format has many more minuses than pluses. It's inconvenient, a hassle to navigate, hard to print, and disjointed. Coke made a mistake with New Coke, and dropped it. You should make a similar decision--it's not failure to recognize error.

Posted by: lowercaselarry | January 29, 2009 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Dan, From West Coast I agree with several other commenters. Go back! I really liked the prior format, your comprehensiveness was of value, the new format is disjointed, it's hard to navigate and print: the bottom-line is now you're just another blog. I won't be reading as much if you stick with this new format. Reiterating: it's not a failure to recognize error! Thanks again for all you've done so far through the years.

Posted by: seattle11 | January 30, 2009 12:02 AM | Report abuse

the ability to print column (with 'print preview') is a highly useful option and would suggest you and techies figure some way to restore this capability.

why does so-called 'progress' have to come at such a high price; why does our greater security of modestly faster column 'bites' + photos have to come at the price of our freedom to print? did you fly too close to the bushie flame of logic over past 8 years?

Posted by: ithejury | January 30, 2009 4:08 AM | Report abuse

As long as it's possible to read all posts for the day as well as retrieve archive postings in one step, the new format will be tolerable but not as pleasurable as the old format.

"Continue reading this post..." is a real nuisance.

Keep up the good work. Your voice made the last eight years a bit more bearable.

Posted by: kmooney1 | January 30, 2009 7:51 AM | Report abuse

You produce a terrific column that frankly should get much greater prominence by the Post. Unless readers like me have the option of having a Print function so we can copy your entire daily blog into Word for printing / sharing / reading at our convenience, your column will be tragically marginized and you will lose readership.

Posted by: DavidDanielGoodrick | January 30, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Dan-

Strong vote NO! Yours was one of the first column I'd go to each day so I'd know what was out there. This is just not gonna do the job.

Maybe this format - let's call it Froomkin 2 - is of value to some people. OK, but you'll probably lose many of the Froomkin 1 readers. If you feel it's worthwhile to develop a new readership base, more power to you. But I'll miss the nature and POV of the old column.

Posted by: CosmosMarinerDU | January 30, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Sorry Dan. I too miss your old once a day columns. It was my favorite read of the day. The new format is just too much navigation and I sure do miss the entire comments listings for the whole column. I doubt I'll be reading too many of your columns in the future. It may be easier for you, but much more difficult for us readers. See ya.

Posted by: stacy_dominguez | January 30, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Very much enjoy your insights. Don't like the new format at all. I don't usually have much time to read your column whether at work during lunch or at home in the evening with two kids. It was much easier and quicker to have it all in one place. As it was, I always read it in print mode to avoid having to browse so much. Now your column goes in 20 different directions at once. Very confusing and very frustrating for this reader. It is all over the place. Hard to digest and read in a reasonable amount of time. Especially don't like how if I decide to read the entire post, I have to find where I left off reading the teaser. If you decide to keep your new format, I hope you at least create an option to read your entire post in one place with one view. Thanks.

Posted by: sstollman | January 30, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Well, I might as well join in the piling on. I don't like the new blog format either. I'm not always able to read your column every day, but I always catch up, sometimes reading two or three columns a day. In the old format, I could always find where I left off and start reading from oldest to newest. Now, with all the scrolling down and clicking to continue and back and forth, I'm getting lost in even the current day's posts. Plus, the posts are newest to oldest, so I have to find the bottom and work my way up.

If you insist on keeping the blog format, at least organize it by day. I also notice there's a print button now for the current day. It takes that literally as it doesn't seem to know when the current day ends and the prior day begins. There's no way to get the prior day in a printable, or viewable, format.

I've been reading you stuff for several years, and I don't really plan on stopping, but you're making it tough on the customer.

Posted by: jimsbo | January 30, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Dan:

Add me to the don't like the new format column of votes. Have tried it since inception. It is not an efficient read for us readers/commenters.

I frequently sneak a moment or two at work to read your stuff, but it doesn't work with the new format.

I suppose it does segregate comments somewhat, if anyone on your side reads them. Also, given the economics of today's newspapers, wondering if there weren't some cost motivations at WPost?

It's just too deep a wade for us in high top galoshes in the new format.

Posted by: Spectator | January 30, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Dear Dan,

I've never taken the time to write you before. Shame on me; I've been reading you devotedly for years. Your avidity in pursuing such a broad variety of sources, combined with your common sense and good humor have buoyed me up over these last rough years.

I can understand the impulse to change formats, especially if the new format is snappier looking and more in tune with the look of web pages, but I have to say that, so far, I'm finding the new format slower and more cumbersome to use.

It's interesting to read that so many of your readers were accustomed to printing your columns and reading them at a later date. I never printed, but I very often saved big files of your work to read when I had time to digest. Amtrak from NYC to DC is an example. More often, I just sat at home with a coffee in my hand and plowed through with pleasure.

This could be a generational difference. I wonder if those of us who prefer your previous format are readers by choice rather than scanners of screens. Not that we don't do both. I've spent very pleasant periods, reading you on my Iphone in remote places.

I wonder if it's possible to make the format a matter of the reader's preference. A lot of on-line articles can be viewed as a single page by clicking the 'print' button.

In any case, congratulations and my best wishes for your continued perseverance. You're invaluable. Don't quit.

yours,

Bill McG

Posted by: billymack21 | January 30, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

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