When Robert Wilonsky unbolted himself from the Unfair Park throne in early 2012, there was a lot of skepticism that his boots could be properly filled. He'd started this blog several years before, one of the first and most successful blogs at an alt-weekly newspaper, and he'd slaved over it ever since.
Then came Eric Nicholson. Eric's a Dallas native, but we found him in the wilds of Arkansas, reporting for the Texarkana Gazette. We didn't know what to expect: He'd solo-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, which we thought was cool (and so did Reese Witherspoon!). He owned a bike, which we thought was cute, and he sometimes ran to work, which we thought was weird. But we didn't argue, 'cause dude worked. Hard.
He's been working that way for going on two years, and in that time he's broken countless stories, including my favorite, in which he alerted City Hall to the horse-abuse abuse allegations made against the guy they'd picked to run their horse park. (For sport, watch the The Dallas Morning News twist itself into an advanced yoga pose trying to ignore the role Eric's reporting played in council's decision to investigate.) He's also grown Unfair Park's traffic from about 600,000 monthly pageviews to around a million, including 1.3 million in December, the blog's biggest month in history.
Nice time for a mic drop, eh?
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the Observer's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Dallas's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Sometime soon, Eric will slide into the job vacated recently by Brantley Hargrove, who is leaving the paper to work full-time as a freelance magazine writer, for D Magazine and elsewhere. As good as Eric is as Unfair Park's lead blogger, he'll make an even bigger impact in his new role, where he'll be given the time and space to report and think more deeply, and to stretch muscles, both the writing kind and the actual kind, he wasn't able to stretch as a full-time blogger. He's excited, and we are too.
Of course this means we're back in footwear-filling mode. If you think you or someone you love has what it takes lead Unfair Park -- reporting and writing four posts a day and generally ensuring that we're covering what needs to be covered, in a way that keeps readers reading and lovable weirdos commenting -- send me an email with "Unfair Park" in the subject line. Include a resume, some clips and some sense of what you'd do with Unfair Park.
Thanks for reading. If you have any questions I'll try to check back in the comments and answer them.