I spent a few days in Detroit last week at the Association of Alternative Newsmedia's annual convention, trying to learn from other papers of our ilk, and various journalism and online experts.
Hopefully, over the next year, you'll see some new things online as a result of tips I got at the event, but one interesting thing that happened is worth discussing now: While there, I got the opportunity to see a concert preview run by the Boise Weekly go viral—while I was hanging out with the article's author and the paper's editor.
It's a little odd how jealous I was of Josh Gross and his Nickelback concert preview as it was moving around the Internet, first on link-sharing sites like Reddit, and then across Facebook, and then on mega-blogs like Gawker. Obviously, we've had days at the Tucson Weekly when one story or another went viral to some extent—but the sort of traffic that a site like Gawker can send your way is the sort of thing a Web producer like myself has strange and somewhat sad dreams about.
While there's a cottage industry online focused on making fun of Nickelback, Gross' hate-filled piece resonated for some reason, both with people wanting to give him a high-five for sticking it to the Canadian suck-lords, and with fans of the band, who were happy to question the reason for his existence.
Lesson learned: If Creed ever comes to town, I'll have a thesaurus and a bad attitude ready to skewer the world's other most-hated band in an attempt to achieve temporary Web fame.
The week on The Range
We shared the results from the Congressional District 8 special election; weren't thrilled with Ron Gould's newest ad in his run for an Arizona congressional seat; shared photos from Gabrielle Giffords' appearance at the Ron Barber Get Out the Vote concert, as well as the news that our former congresswoman might start a political action committee; asked Jesse Kelly if he'd help us out with our student-loan payments; wished the best to Jodi Bain and Rick Grinnell after their removal from the Rio Nuevo board; and discussed the highlights of the week's political events with Carolyn Cox, Steve Kozachik and Jeff Rogers on Arizona Illustrated's Political Roundtable, with your host, Jim Nintzel.
We let you know that the staff of Caffé Milano is going on summer vacation; announced the closure of several restaurants in town; interviewed local gardener Jared McKinley; and asked if the flavored-vodka madness could come to an end.
We grimaced at the idea of a Gilligan's Island musical; surveyed people on Fourth Avenue for their opinions regarding the modern streetcar; shared the work of several local authors; wondered if 19 is too young to get married; suggested you adopt one of Tucson's homeless pets; stared at Michael Bolton; let you know where not to park your bike at the UA; suggested you catch a Tucson Padres game; watched a trailer for the forthcoming film The Perks of Being a Wallflower; tried to understand what Andy Samberg is doing with his movie choices; remembered the late Ray Bradbury and his connection to Tucson; tried to be as encouraging as one Miami Heat fan; wondered why there aren't more outlets on campus selling booze; sang along with Barack Obama's cover of "Call Me Maybe"; and watched a new video from local legends Calexico.
Comment of the week
"I remember carrying in a jug of Southern Comfort and Squirt as the beverage of choice at Arizona Stadium."
—TucsonWeekly.com commenter "Downtowner" reminds everyone that just because there is not much alcohol for purchase on the UA campus, that doesn't mean there isn't any alcohol on campus ("There Should Be More Booze on Campus," The Range, June 5).
Best of WWW
Our new mobile site was launched earlier this year, offering a much-easier way to read our content or find something to do in town on your phone or tablet. We're always trying to make that process a bit easier, and now we've rolled out a great enhancement to the restaurant portion of the site: Now, when you're searching through our restaurant guide, you can get a preview of the menu at many of the restaurants in our database, complete with prices. We'll be adding menus nearly every day, but we think you'll be impressed with the number of establishments we've already got covered, giving you a chance to search for a place that serves whatever you have a craving for.