Due South Reporter

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Newsletter Community
Name: Due South Reporter
Date(s): July 1, 2002 - August 19, 2004
Moderator: Speranza, Beth H, Rustler, LauraKaye, Laura Shapiro, & others (add)
Founder: Speranza
Fandom: Due South
URL: http://dsreporter.livejournal.com/

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Due South Reporter was an early, if not the first, Due South community on LJ.

The Due South Reporter compiled links to gen, het, and both Ray slash fiction. The community was initially founded as an anonymous enterprise in the still-hostile environment of the late Ray Wars.

The Due South Reporter, which was the grandmother of many of the newsletter LJ communities that were later created, was active for over two years. The community closed up shop on August 19, 2004.

Profile

The community's LJ profile states:

Who is DS Reporter? We are lots of people. We are Fraser-people, Vecchio-people, Kowalski-people, Frannie-people; we are slash and het and gen; we swing every Ray but loose. We are members of different lists--all the many different lists--that make up DS fandom. We read different archives and we have different friends. But we share this newspaper, and we share the password. We have different fannish "beats" and we report back from our fannish corners. We don't all like or read what we're reporting, but we report as much of it as we can. We aim for a house style so that you can't tell one of us from another, and so that the site stays relatively uncluttered. We aim for neutrality and completeness.

What we all have in common is a need for a centralized site in an increasingly fragmented fannish world. We'd like there to be more DS fiction and art and vids and conversation. Please use our comments section to discuss and review and hobnob.

"Reporters"

The community had a series of "reporters" work beats and post links: there were people assigned to monitor the various mailing lists and archives (there were not very many LJ communites yet) and to collect links to DS work of all kinds. In the highly divided culture of Due South fandom in 2002, there was not much in the way of "one-stop shopping" for fanfiction, which was balkanized into factions. The community's "house style" and neutral tone were also a deliberate attempt to calm and unifying a fractured fandom; tensions were high, and people often spoke disparagingly of stories from other parts of the fandom. This was not permitted at the Due South Reporter.

"Community"

Technically speaking, the Due South Reporter was not a LJ community. DS Reporter was a single user journal run like a newspaper, in which the admins all shared a single password. When actual Livejournal communities became popular, the Reporter was disbanded in favor of the 'post-your-own-links' style ds_noticeboard. But it prefigured the community idea in that it was a journal you subscribed to for a fandom, not an individual.

When the site closed in 2004, the creators said:

... we hope that the "community" structure will defuse the ego question, as in mailing lists of old; (our solution, sharing a single LJ,looks kind of quaint, now, doesn't it?)

[bluster]: Actually, it doesn't seem quaint at all. It is the best way yet on LJ for a fan to get, as Joe Friday would say, "Just the facts, ma'am." We never knew if the people gathering and posting the information were writers, gen fans, slashers, lovers of het, or all of the above. There was no concern over one pairing getting preferential treatment. Like lady justice the DSR was blindfolded. [1]

Content

In July 2002, the sites' creators asked for more gen and het suggestions. They also stated their content plans.

Editorial: Calling Gen and Het Writers

At the most recent Reporter Staff meeting, it was observed that the stories we are reporting are primarily slash. While we do have reporters covering what we believe to be all main lists, we are wondering if there are other sources for Due South gen or het that we don't know about or aren't covering adequately.

It should be noted at this point that the DSReporter covers only stories which are:

a) publicly available; (in other words, a story posted only to a list is not eligible, as we do not believe it is appropriate to "spy" on lists. The story must have a publicly available URL);

b) published after June, 2002 (because going back in time presents innumerable problems in a fandom this large, and the site aims to be current);

c) relatively complete. Which is to say, no works in progress unless the sections of said works are clearly defined with a beginning, middle, and end. So a story that is published as a series, with each section being complete and having its own title, yes. If the story is being published in parts (3/?, 14/?) it is the Reporter's policy to wait until the story is complete and publicly posted to a website or archive.

Do you know of gen or het stories that we're missing? If you can direct us to an archive or web page, we would very much appreciate it.

Are you a gen or het writer who has just updated your page with a new DS story? Please consider dropping the Reporter a line as part of your announcement process. [2]
In February 2003, the site asked for more info about fiction which focused on Ray Vecchio:

Due to infrequent updates at Two Axes, and in the interests of promoting Vecchio-centric fic throughout the fandom, the staff of the DSReporter would like to encourage Vecchio-centric writers to also upload their stories to webpages or to one of the other central due South archives.

As was noted in a previous editorial, the DSReporter only covers stories which are publicly available (in other words, the story must have a publicly available URL). We know from our reporters that Vecchio-centric stories are being written and posted to a number of lists in the greater fandom, but reporters have been frustrated in their attempts to find URLs for the stories so they might inform other fans of their existence.

Do you know of a Vecchio-centered story that we're missing? Please write to us at dsreporter@livejournal.com, or leave a note in the comments section; if you can direct us to an archive or web page, we would very much appreciate it! [3]

The Maple Leaf Icon

The site's icon was created by Livia.

From a fan in 2004: "I'll miss seeing that maple leaf coming across my friends list. :)" [4]

Closure

From the sites' creators (August 19, 2004):

When we started this site two years ago, we were the only due South-centric LJ on the web; now there are communities to meet almost every fannish need, including ds_discourse for show chat, ds_flashfiction for fic challenges, ds_flashback for classic recs, ds_icons for icons, ds_writers for story queries and help, men_of_duesouth for art updates, crack_van for new recs, and now ds_noticeboard, where people can collectively post their own DS stories and news, thus rendering us obsolete.

There have been eight of us reporting here over the past two years, and we'd like to thank all the people who pinch-hit, passed on reliable information, found stories we'd missed, made comments, and gave feedback. We'd also like to thank everyone who read and used the site, and we hope that you all turn into reporters for ds_noticeboard.

This site will remain here for reference, and we may post the occasional announcement urging people to turn to ds_noticeboard for news rather than to us. We'll also be reporting news to DS_Noticeboard under our own names.

It's been a pleasure serving you.

Sincerely yours,

The Editorial Staff of The Due South Reporter

Reasons for the Closure

The sites' creators cited several reasons for the closure.

... we've enjoyed doing it, though frankly, ma'am, we're a little tired. *g* The "LJ community" technology seems to have made our kind of thing obsolete anyway, which is only progress, we suppose. [5]
In many ways, actually, we're victims of our own success--you guys are writing more than we can keep up with! So keep at it! [6]
... after two years and two months, we're a little tired. [7]

ds noticeboard

After the closure of "Due South Reporter," the community creators' encouraged fans to focus on ds noticeboard.

Comments below are from ADMIN POST: Closing Up Shop.

[dsreporter]: ... we never provided recs, or icons, or beta services, or flashfiction, etc. If you're looking only to duplicate our services, you could just friend ds_noticeboard for fic announcements, though of course that's up to you.

[destina]: Didn't want that stuff. Just the fiction links. And a noticeboard for self-reports isn't an unbiased, complete reporter of links, really.
[dsreproter]: Again, we reiterate; if you want only one community, we advise subbing to the ds_noticeboard, which will be providing fic announcements and DS news. Please understand that it's a lot of work for us to troll lists, archives, and LJ sites, especially when you consider that most people are happy to post to a centralized location now that the technology is available. It will save a lot of work if people routinely get into the habit of crossposting to Noticeboard and/or reporting or reccing DS fiction and links there. We apologize for the inconvenience but would rather aid a clear transition to Noticeboard than to wither and disappear.

[tigerdragon]: I just popped over to ds_noticeboard, and was surprised to see that a) it was only started a couple of weeks ago, and b) hasn't really had that many postings, so I'm surprised at your comment about being obsolete. I loved your succint, anonymous and unbiased posting, which from what I've seen so far I doubt will be a feature of ds_noticeboard, and will miss you lots. Thanks for the hard work.

[dsreporter]: You also raise a point that's worthy of explanation. Part of the reason we made the decision to close now rather than later was precisely to encourage certain developments on Noticeboard. We worried that a person might be less likely to crosspost stories or news to a central LJ location (which we unanimously think would be good for the fandom) if the Reporter was also doing that work, because then one might see, say, a link from the author's own LJ, followed by a Reporter link, followed by a Noticeboard link--it could get silly, yes?
(Additionally, of course, the creation of Noticeboard provided us an opportunity to bow out gracefully and to help create a smooth and clear transition; the cagier minds here on the Reporter staff instantly grasped the idea that Noticeboard could substitute for us as well as Flashback. And so we bid you--not goodbye but au revoir!)

Fan Comments Regarding the Site's Closure

Comments below are from ADMIN POST: Closing Up Shop.

[ajinamoto]:

Thank you so much for all you've done. You've provided wonderful, unbiased information, as promised in your user info.

[kelliem]:

I'm sorry to see you guys go, you've been a great resource. Thank you all for your hard work.

[estrella30]: You've provided a wonderful service for such a long time - you guys deserve a nice, long break.

Thanks you again, and enjoy your frosty beverage of choice as you finally kick back and relax!

[destina]:

Ack! Well, there goes my last connection to dS fandom. You guys are the only reliable, unbiased reporters in the fandom. I'll miss having convenient access to new schtuff; it's not worth the effort to friend five million communities to get what I need, when I'm used to getting it all here. Thanks for everything you've done, over the years. It's much appreciated.

[kassrachel]:

Thanks for two years of terrifically useful information, and for getting the dS/lj ball rolling!

[dolimir k]: Ack!

I tended to lurk on the edges of the dS fandom. I think that now that you guys are closing up shop, you're taking my last connection with you. *pout* I don't really want to go friend another community, so I guess this is the end of the line. I liked your unbiased announcements and I picked and chose from there.

Ah well.

Thank you for your hard work. It was much appreciated.

[reginagiraffe]: Aww, I'm very sorry to hear this. I still get a lot of info and story announcements from this community that I don't get elsewhere. But I can understand your position.

Thank you so much for all the work you've done. Please know that it's very much appreciated.

[Cindy]:

I've been lurking around LJ for over a year. I'm not a member because obviously I'm not a writer. Although everyone else has said it better, I'd still like to add my thanks for all your unbiased reporting. When I turn on my computer, before I check my email, I always read DS Reporter first. There are other places to check out now but you guys were the first and the best!

[bluster]: I'm feeling more than a little bereft at the thought of DS Reporter folding. You paved the way for DS communities on LJ and did an incredible job of pulling everything together. You also did it anonymously, with no need for the spotlight. Putting the fandom before personal ego is a truly rare thing that I, for one, appreciated. There are more than a few stories I would have missed without your diligence and for that alone I am eternally grateful.

So kick off your shoes, pour yourself the alcoholic beverage of your choice, and know that DS fandom salutes you and wishes you Au Revoir!

[silverakira]:

...gonna miss you guys and your unbiased posts. ds_noticeboard's nice and all that, but you got everything and announced indiscriminately, whereas the noticeboard is more self-pimping and all that.

[Heliophile]: Heartfelt thanks from another avid reader-in-lurking. I'm one of many who owe you a debt of gratitude for all your time and effort - and who will miss this site; ::raises glass to DS Reporter:: for bringing together so much high quality, extremely thorough and even-handed coverage in a single place ::bows:: Thank You!

[djinanna]: You will be missed. It's the end of a (very short) era.

Thank you for your devoted reportage.

[dsreporter]: Short? In internet fandom, two years is an eon. *g* Whole fandom have come and gone in that time! (Of course we know what you mean and we thank you.)

[taverymate]: DSReporter was the first place I checked to see what was newly posted throughout DS fandom sources. As a one-stop collection, you folks were invaluable. I'm sure you are tired - consistently pulling together accurate information & links from diverse sources is a major task - and I wish you all the best.

I must say, however, that I disagree strongly that you, or the DSReporter concept, have been rendered obsolete. Indeed, I'd point out with the rapid proliferation of numerous LJ communities (many spawing tons of short fiction that doesn't get routinely archived) and the explosion of LJ personal accounts, in addition to the various archives and other webpages, the need for a centralized location to find succinct information and links is even more crucial - nay, vital.

I have neither the inclination nor the time to comb through literally thousands of LJ for a DS snippet here or there embedded amongst other personal posts or other fandom posts. Nor do I want to friend a dozen different communities when what I want are clear, short, unbiased links to recent fiction - preferably archived in a format that I can easily access and read.

DS Noticeboard has a place, but it is most decidedly NOT a replacement. Self-posting notices of stories is very different from an objective reporting of all recent fiction and news, in scope and tone.

Thanks again for all your hard work. It made keeping up with ALL things DS much, much easier. You contributed greatly to DS fandom and were an invaluable resource, as your archive will continue to be. You will be sorely missed.

[anyanwubutler]:

I'm not a writer, in fact I'm mostly a lurker and this has been my primary place to look for news and new stories in the greater ds 'verse. I'm not actively on lj, I don't seek out other ljs & websites -- I haven't needed to. Until now. Sure this is a huge undertaking and I understand why you all want to take a break, but this "place" *isn't* duplicated and I will miss it very much. Thank you for doing it all this time.

References

  1. ^ ADMIN POST: Closing Up Shop
  2. ^ Editorial: Calling Gen and Het Writers (July 24, 2002)
  3. ^ Editorial: Calling Vecchio-Centric Writers (February 1, 2003)
  4. ^ ADMIN POST: Closing Up Shop
  5. ^ ADMIN POST: Closing Up Shop
  6. ^ ADMIN POST: Closing Up Shop
  7. ^ ADMIN POST: Closing Up Shop