(Photo by Tajha Chappellet-Lanier)
When a letter from billionaire owner Joe Ricketts was posted Thursday announcing that DCist and its sister were closing and taking years of content along with them (the content has since been put back), Myers immediately bought the URL for DCistNOW, launched a Twitter page and set his new plans in motion.
“Every online resource like the DCist is not only a gem, but a resource that is relied on by District residents,” Myers wrote in the first post. “Shutting down because you cannot handle the bandwidth is one thing. Shutting down because your employer feels he or she has enough power to cut off your voice, while living elsewhere, is infuriating.”
The Washington Post called the move by Ricketts a “scorched earth attack on local media.”
Being the editor-in-chief of a publication is new territory for Myers, a 34-year-old comedian, professional pianist and overall busy person.
“I’m not married, have no kids and can afford to be busy. I love D.C. I love to help out where I can,” he said. “When they pulled the archives it really pissed me off. Not only do the writers for the DCist deserve a space to work and write, they depend on that coverage to sustain careers. It’s criminal.”
A native of Kerens, Texas, Myers ran for public office when he was just 20 years old, to be the mayor of Corsicana. He lost the race, and then spent three years in the U.S. Army, lived as a comedian in Los Angeles and then worked as a volunteer on the Obama 2008 presidential campaign in California and Texas, and then moved to D.C. after Obama’s election. He’s also a licensed Baptist minister, and is currently the minister of music at Covenant Baptist Church in SW, and the stride pianist is an artist in residence at Mr. Henry’s Capitol Hill Pub & Restaurant.
Myers plans to launch a permanent platform for DCistNOW in January, along with podcast and video components, which, he said, will provide opportunities for advertising partnerships. He also plans to hire a managing editor and sales director.
“I would not have taken this off unless I thought this could be a profitable venture,” he said. “With the publication, I want to fill the void of at-large coverage without the threat of the information being shut down or lost. We want to be a space for innovation, investigation. I choose to do that for the good of the community and to advance my career and the careers of others.”
DCistNOW currently features arts and entertainment, food, news and style and fashion.
Myers has a message to DCist contributors.
“You’re welcome at DCistNOW. Give me six months and if you like what you experience, and like our consistency, I think you will stay with us,” he said.