Robert Niles: “Ultimate Insider”

I’m working in my living room, vaguely keeping track of CNN when I hear a segment start on planning family vacations in  theme parks. Soledad is aghast at the prices and I make a mental note to mention the segment to my OJR editor, Robert Niles, the founder of Then I look up: the expert being introduced as the "ultimate insider" is Robert.  I love it when the bookers get it right. Nice job, Robert.

Theme Park Insider is a great example of  multiple facets of web publishing: self-publishing, niche capturing and community journalism. The site, which has its origins in a 1997 online message board,  attracts a constant following of enthusiasts who track (and report) every price burp, equipment blip and new attraction. It also draws tourists. Providing a base for both at the same time isn’t easy but it’s a mark of a solid niche publication.

Coda: I knew Robert as the site’s editor long before he joined OJR. I moderated a panel during a USC Annenberg conference in 2002 with Robert, Jai Singh and Dan Froomkin. The video of the session is still available.

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