This post was originally featured at Derby News Network in July 2011.
Four years ago, Justice Feelgood Marshall launched DerbyNewsNetwork.com to address what he saw as a gaping hole in media treatment of modern roller derby: the absence of straightforward, journalistic coverage of competition within the sport. Beginning with major event previews and bout recaps, DNN’s reportage soon grew to include live textcast coverage, then streamed video, with dedicated sportscast and graphic overlays for key gameplay information — all on a DIY, shoestring formula familiar to any participant in the modern derby movement.
Within the site’s first year, Gnosis and I folded our parallel efforts (Leadjammer.com and HaveDerbyWillTravel.com, respectively) into Justice’s DNN, broadening the overall effort’s scope to include feature content and commentary articles. Your enthusiastic reception of the resulting site has humbled us.
Over time, though, extensive user input has led us to narrow DNN’s focus pretty strictly to “sports news coverage” — subjects that are no more than one degree of separation from on-track action. While the format has been successful and popular, we’ve found ourselves without an outlet for a lot of writing that we find really interesting — topics that speak to derby culture and derby people, but that aren’t directly related to specific competitive events involving specific teams.
In partnership with our longtime collaborator and friend Assaultin’ Pepa from fiveonfive magazine, and new site Managing Editor Em Dash, we launched DerbyLife.com last week. DNN’s new sister site casts a much wider net, embracing topics sometimes only loosely related to modern derby as a sport. Some DerbyLife articles will be pieces that never found a home within DNN’s narrow scope or fiveonfive’s page count limits; many more are created specifically for the new site.
While we’re broadening our content horizons, we’re also letting our hair down a bit. Both DNN and fiveonfive aim for a very neutral tone, largely steering clear of the dramas that are prone to manifest in any volunteer-driven community. While we’ll strictly maintain a civil environment on Derbylife, you’ll find more opinion, emotion, and advocacy than we’ve previously hosted. We’ve always encouraged courteous but enthusiastic conversation in DNN’s article comments; on DerbyLife, that conversation will extend to the articles themselves.
Fresh Content Daily
When we first started sketching the outline for a sister site focused on culture, one of the first requirements we settled on was freshness. We’ve all spent endless hours bored at work and thinking of derby, and we’re committed to providing you a fix every single day (sorry, employers of derbs). At a bare minimum, there will always be a new feature photo of the day and video of the day. Most days will bring you much more; since our launch a week ago, we’ve averaged three new articles posted every single day, and the army of writers recruited by DerbyLife Editor-In-Chief Mercy Less shows no sign of letting up.
Bookmark DerbyLife.com now — you’ll want to return, tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that.
That army of writers we’re talking about? That’s you. Got something you want to get off of your chest? Want to tell the world about a difficult or fulfilling or surprising experience you’ve had in or around derby? Found an amazing photo or video? Have a derby-related question you’d like to Ask a Doctor/Lawyer/Accountant/Nutritionist/Physical Therapist/Personal Trainer/Sports Psychologist/Ref/Stats Nerd/Dumptruck? Hit us up through the DerbyLife Contact Form, or email firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us what’s on your mind!
DNN will keep doing what it’s doing, as will fiveonfive magazine; rather than competing for our resources, this parallel project has brought new energy, new enthusiasm, and many many new people into the pursuit of DNN’s overall mission. We hope you’ll enjoy our new project as much as we enjoy bringing it to you!