who we are

usTwo2_ThXarktopia LLC is a media services company founded by Dan Conover and Janet Edens in 2010 — on their 11th wedding anniversary. Dan was the city editor for the metro daily in Charleston, S.C., back in those days. Janet ran the design desk.

In 2008, as the newspaper industry tipped into its current decline, Dan quit his job and started a new career as a freelance writer, consultant and speaker. Janet joined him a little more than a year later. Xarktopia seemed a natural outgrowth of our eclectic resumes and expanding portfolio. With our natural inclination toward learning and doing, we’ve developed a — well, the word “freakish” comes to mind — menu of media skills.

Dan was the 2005 South Carolina Journalist of the Year, a 2006 Western Knight Center fellow in multimedia, and a former metro newspaper city editor and web director. But he’s also an award-winning fiction writer and investigative reporter, as well as a cartoonist, illustrator, photographer and web designer. In new-media circles, he’s best known as an advocate for a new approach to journalism based on data and information standards (via the long-running Xark blog), and has worked as a media consultant both through Xarktopia and a Chicago-based technology firm.

Janet is a Poynter Institute-trained visual journalist and graphic designer. But she started her career as a daily newspaper reporter before morphing into a copy editor and feature page designer. After running the design staff for several years, she led one of the most unique newspaper redesigns in modern history — in the sense that reader comments after the launch ran 15-to-1 in favor of the new look. She co-founded the Lowcountry Blogs local blogging network (with Dan) in 2006, led a niche-website team of multimedia and traditional journalists covering the Spoleto USA arts festival from 2008-09, and created an award-winning digital project that combined the Lowcountry Blogs network with social media and crowd-sourcing techniques to cover the historic 2008 election.

Due to family obligations, we’ve remained in Charleston. But we’ve worked with remote clients, telecommuted, and held down long-term traveling jobs both in and out of the country.

Xarktopia’s clients range from local businesses to web companies, from non-profits and start-ups to international publishers and multi-million-dollar regional media companies. We consult on complex projects and simple business strategies. We write stories, edit publications, build and operate websites, and art-direct glossy magazines.

We also run a host of our own projects and experiments. For details on our professional and personal work, visit our individual sites at  danconover.com and janetedens.com.