DC Darkside is a personal web
project of Doug Thompson.
Thompson realized the value
of capturing history 45 years ago as a 10-year-old schoolboy in Farmville,
Virginia, when the community, caught up in a fight over integration,
closed the public schools and opened an all-white private school.
Thompson wrote about his
experiences and submitted his story to
Herald,the local newspaper. His essay was picked up by other
newspapers around he country. He also took pictures for the paper.
When his family relocated
to the Blue Ridge Mountain community of Floyd, the then 14-year-old
Thompson took his photographs and stories to Pete Hallman, editor of the
weekly Floyd Press.
Hallman encouraged the young man to continue writing and taking photos,
teaching him the ins and outs of the newspaper business.
Thompson went on to join
the staff of The Roanoke
Times where he covered the police beat, emerging racial turmoil in the
city and tackled other tough subjects. His story about a young girl who
obtained an abortion (illegal at the time) won the top feature writing
award from the Virginia Press Association. Another, about street racers in
the city, won another feature writing award while his coverage of the
murder of a Southwest Roanoke couple and the abduction and rape of their
teenaged daughters brought the top news writing award from the association
After moving on to
The Telegraph in
Alton, Illinois, Thompson continued to win awards for writing and
photography, capturing the Illinois Associated Press Managing Editors top
prizes for news, feature and column writing as well as first place awards
from the Illinois Press Association.
Thompson took a
sabbatical from newspapers in 1981 and moved to Washington and work on
Capitol Hill, where he served as press secretary to two members of
Congress, Chief of Staff to a third and then Special Assistant to the
Ranking Member of the House Space, Science and Technology Committee.
The committee worked with
the National Science Foundation to bring the Internet into the private
sector and Thompson saw the tremendous potential of the 'Net as a
communications tool. He used that foresight to start a web hosting and
design company in 1994 and that same year launched
Capitol Hill Blue as the
web's first political news site.
Doug Thompson Media encompasses
the original web hosting and design company (The
Buffalo Mountain Company), a photography business (Blue
Ridge Photography), documentary films (Buffalo
Mountain Films), a foundation (Our
America) and several other companies.
In 2001, Our America
launched a 10-year project to document and first decade of the new century
through stories, photos and films.
Despite his success in
new media, Thompson remains a newspaperman at heart and lives by the creed
that it is the role of a newspaperman to "comfort the afflicted and
afflict the comfortable."