In my latest post for my weekly true crime column, I write about the Max Headroom Signal Intrusion. It’s a signal hack that occurred in Chicago in 1987 that was particularly striking for just how gonzo weird it truly was. Read more here.
I explained some of this here, but decided to make a slightly more comprehensive post.
For now I’m just making simple, short posts as something catches my eye. In the past I’ve made the mistake of starting a new blog and attempting to go whole hog, writing full, comprehensive articles—while maintaining a writing job elsewhere. I can be really productive, but that’s not easy to do, and I don’t want to be parked at my computer all the time.
Yet I still feel the need to do more, past my once-a-week column for Real Clear Life.
The short posts keep me doing it, in the habit (I’m also not tasking myself to always have an image, something blogging best practices say you must do), and I’ll be working toward longer aggregated and reported posts in the future.
So, for now the True Crime Observer is in beta mode. That’s just to give me a chance to rev up, figure out my direction. Some of this will be what I’ve always done. But I may also add some things new to me, like a weekly podcast. (I know, I know, there are a million true crime podcasts, and I mostly hate them. I even hate the format. But still.)
About the blog name: A week ago I had what felt like an inspiration, I guess. This site was previously called True Crime Wire and I thought people would get it, but over time realized there was something kind of vague and dated about that name. The AP and UPI used to be referred to as “newswires,” so it’s a familiar term to old dudes like me, but it seems that term is slipping out of use.
I probably had the idea for True Crime Observer in the past but it was either taken or I concluded—for reasons I don’t understand now—it wouldn’t work. But when I had the idea of changing the blog name to that and saw the URL and was available, it felt like the right thing to do.
Hopefully I was right about that.
This is the blog formerly known as True Crime Wire. I began the site originally to return to the thing that launched my writing career–true crime–then said career became very busy.
Fortunately that’s still basically true, but just in the last year alone, the profile of true crime as a news category, as a podcast and blog subject, as a genre people openly discuss has changed. A lot.
When I began a true crime blog in 2004 it was still the kind of thing people were hesitant to discuss. Not ashamed, exactly, but occasionally embarrassed. Don’t underestimate how weird it can feel to begin a discussion of some old mystery like the Zodiac Killer only to have someone stare at you like they’re afraid you might murder them in their bed.
Now, people wear their love of true crime on their sleeves. It’s a good time to do this without any apology.
So, I have a plan with the True Crime Observer (which, as referred to above, is called True Crime Wire in the archives). I’ll begin with quick hits, pure aggregation, then as I have time work on longer form things.
Treat this blog as a companion to my column for Real Clear Life. That’s one post a week, but the fun I’ve had doing it was another factor in setting this up. That, and I just liked the name. When I found no one was using it, I had to snap it up.
More to come.
I’ve taken too long to do this. For now, all my personal blogging on any subject–including crime–will be here:
A Medium-hosted blog. Years ago I understood it’s wisest to confine your non-paid blogging to one destination but my ADD-fueled curiosity about platforms stayed in control.
I’m going to try and just focus on the one site for now, though. So follow that link.
I’m about to start updating this blog as often as I can. That may not be daily, but hopefully pretty frequently. Let’s do this.