Finally, We Have A Blog!

May 9, 2012

“Don’t focus on having a great blog. Focus on producing a blog that’s great for your readers.” –Brian Clark, Founder of Copyblogger, CEO of Copyblog Media, and, according to Dun and Bradstreet, one of the most influential people in small business.

The moment has arrived. All of the dreaming is finished. No more committee meetings nor scrimping and saving to push through a web design contract. The planning, strategizing, and programming have been done. Everyone on the Board has been appeased. The President is ecstatic. The NDIA has a blog.


I have dreamt of this day for a very long time. It started when I joined the NDIA back in 2006. I had no idea I would attend my first National Conference in San Francisco, CA, that year because our Metropolitan Public Defender’s Office did not fund investigator training then. But since I love San Francisco, I decided to go. To afford the trip I stayed at the San Francisco City Center Hostel a couple of blocks from the conference site for $25 per night. I remember it well because I bunked with a New Zealander. Together we hiked from the Tenderloin District, through Chinatown, across the Golden Gate Bridge, to Marin County…and back…on Saturday. Good times...tired feet, but good times.

At the conference, I met former President Matt Whalen, then Vice President Teri Moore, Sean Broderick, Mark Neer, and the Board of Directors for the first time. That’s when I asked to be an NDIA volunteer. Matt thought about it for a minute, and then asked me to take over the day-to-day administration of the website, among other things, which I agreed to do, and thus began my term as NDIA's webmaster.

For some time after that, I struggled to develop a clear vision of what that website should do because the software was so limited. Okay, let’s keep it real—the website has not been all that useful to you since you have joined. Yes, we’ve had a front page, posted newsletters and jobs there, hosted a public forum that no one used, and made a list of fairly useful links to investigation websites. But there was no dynamic to it. We posted, and you read—nothing more.

That’s because up until now, the NDIA website was hosted by, which, as its name implies, is a sports-oriented webhosting company designed primarily for use by little league baseball and soccer teams, not indigent defense investigation organizations. That’s not meant to knock because they have been a great help to us, but web administration was rather limited. Getting anything done meant navigating a maze of sports-related mailing lists, coach calendars, athletic widgets, and player rosters just to post an announcement or advertise a conference. And try as I might, I could not bend the “out-of-the-box” program used to host the website to my will. There was no way to engage the NDIA members because I could not make content truly private… no way to make a forum confidential or any way to blog whatsoever. Today that changes thanks to Taoti, Drupal, the Board of Directors, and you.

Beginning today, the NDIA blog is online. Our goal is simple: We want to make the best possible blog any defense investigator could ask for. To do that, we need you. We want to publish you. So, beginning today, we will be accepting your blog post submissions for review and publication on the website. The posts will only be as good as you make them, so give it some thought, look back at your field notebooks, and then put finger to keyboard and let us hear from you. Tell us about what you know. Ask questions. Get feedback. When others post, make comments. I am convinced that, together, we can build a great blog.