He may not know absolutely everything about Oklahoma City, but Adam Knapp knows a lot, and he’s working hard to keep Internet readers up to date on the latest, the most important and the best the city has to offer.
As the city’s official About.com writer, Knapp has spent the past six weeks putting together a comprehensive web page focusing on food, arts, entertainment, sports and current events for one of the Internet’s hottest sites – About.com. An experienced freelance writer and college instructor, Knapp has thrown himself full-scale into his Oklahoma City Internet coverage – and is having an absolute blast doing it.
“It’s sometimes a little daunting, actually, when you consider that my assignment for About is to cover the entire Oklahoma City area and to keep up with everything that’s going on,” Knapp said. “I love what I’m doing, and I’m having a great time doing it. We’ve put a lot of energy and emphasis into putting together a website that will keep people coming back as repeat visitors, getting insights and information about their city – and maybe even learning some things they didn’t know.”
Knapp was raised in the Tulsa area, attended Oklahoma State University and moved to Oklahoma City six years ago. He has been a freelance writer for several years, but got the chance to write for About (a New York Times company) just over two months ago. After submitting his resume and writing samples, he patiently waited six weeks before he was hired as the Oklahoma City writer for the website. Two weeks of intensive training followed and Knapp finally went “live” in November.
“It was a little frightening and intensely exciting when I finally went live on the site,” Knapp said. “It took a long time to get through the process to where I was actually putting the page together, and by that time I was more than ready.
“Since then, it’s certainly not been a job where I’ve had to hunt for stories and articles to fill the page,” he said. “It’s just the opposite. There is such an enormous amount of information out there that I’m just trying to find time to get to. That’s sometimes a bit frustrating. I keep seeing things that I wished I’d had time to get to.”
All in all, Knapp said he’s pleased with the site and with the information he’s been able to gather. From arts and entertainment reviews and suggestions to coverage of politics and sporting events, Knapp keeps his hand in all possible aspects of life in Oklahoma City. He’s also becoming a much better photographer, since art and photos are a vital part of any successful website.
A daily blog about the happenings in Oklahoma City keeps Knapp up to date each and every day, and he has posted more than 70 articles covering various topics in the two months since the site went “live.” He writes “whenever he can,” whether it’s six in the morning, four in the afternoon or just after midnight.
“This month, I start teaching at Rose State, so that’s going to sort of cut into my free time,” Knapp said with a laugh. “But I will do all I can to give both the teaching and the About work the time and effort each deserves.
“What we want is a site that gives people a slice of Oklahoma City life – all aspects of life in Oklahoma City,” Knapp said. “It’s not a tourism site, trying to sell people on Oklahoma City. It’s more of a site where we try to create communication and a community of people who already live here and just want to find out more about the things they might not have known about, or might have overlooked.”
Knapp said he’s been pleasantly surprised at the amount of reader response he’s gotten from some of the articles posted during the first month and a half. He said reader input will be the lifeblood of the site, if he hopes to continue putting together an Oklahoma City site for About.
“This is designed to be a reader-friendly site, but also a reader participation site,” Knapp said. “We want people to read our articles about restaurants and theater productions and then to contact us and tell us what we’re doing right and what we could do better. Interaction with and contributions from readers are two of the things we want the most. If those two aspects of our operation continue to grow and improve, then we’ll know we’ve done a good job and accomplished what we wanted.”
The site is apparently capturing the attention of a number of business and professional people in Oklahoma City, judging by some of the recent requests Knapp has had for coverage of certain events.
“We’ve been contacted by the people putting together the Jon Bon Jovi concert coming up, and also by the people from Celebrity Attractions – the ones putting together the ‘Will Rogers Follies,’” Knapp said. “That’s another thing that tells us that we might be doing a pretty good job keeping our finger on the pulse of the city. That’s what we want – people coming to our site to see what we say about arts, about sports, about politics in the city.”