Monthly Archives: March 2009

Building a more connected (online) Phoenix

Yesterday’s post on Urban Affair and Downtown Phoenix Journal generated a ton of views and comments — way more than I expected.  But then, maybe that’s to be expected considering Phoenix’s increasingly large, and  zealous, local movement.

I just wish I had paid more attention.  The original post was a rush job I quickly hammered out between classes simply to get something posted (there’s a lesson in responsible blogging in here somewhere).  Of course, the result included some errors of fact and typos, but I’m actually glad they were there.  Without them, I doubt the post would have received the attention it did, and I never would have heard the bloggosphere’s Phoenix voices  — and there are a lot.

Beginning in-mass approximately 10 years ago, many Phoenix residents have worked hard to develop nationally recognized movements promoting local business and community.  Of course there’s Kimber Lanning, et al., with the exalted Local First Arizona, the largest coalition of independent business in the nation.  LFA is the organization I’m most familiar with, having written half a dozen stories on it for various publications and journalism projects in the past year or so — the topic always seems to please j-school professors.  But there are tons of other movements, and a surprising number of them are online.

The cyber community in Phoenix, while not as big as many other cities, seems to be extremely well-connected.  Blogs link to organizations, which link to blogs, which link to businesses, etc.  And the writers for these publications certainly seem to know what’s going on; the coverage is phenomenal.

As a small-time local blogger, it’s really amazing to see the power of these larger movements.  I DO see blogging as the future of local publications, overtaking the free, community papers.  Print will always be available, but more and more content has moved online.  And that’s great.  Online has so many benefits, among them the ability to link and create vast communities that coordinate and contribute to each other.  Groups like Urban Affair and DPJ have become hubs for both original content and aggregated information imported from dozens of personal spider blogs.

It’s good to be in a community.  As conceptions and expections of journalism change, the since of journalistic duty to the community will always remain.


Urban Affairs staches up Downtown Phoenix Journal blog

Downtown Phoenix Journal announced yesterday its acquisition by Urban Affair, the new marketing campaign for Phoenix.

DPJ, the biggest blog for aggregating info in Phoenix, has been a great source of news for the downtown area since 2006. Its bloggers mix postings about events and issues to produce a solid, hyper-local blog. However, downtown keeps changing; it recently rocketed out of the dull drums and into a world-class urban center. So, DPJ should change too, I suppose. I’m just worried the new renters will corporartize what was a great, independent voice.

A shiny new site is born...I'm a bit jealous.

A shiny new site is born...I'm a bit jealous.

Urban Affair, a recently started campaign, is looking to promote Phoenix in much the same way cities like Las Vegas promote themsleves—by establishing a well known brand and appeal.  In our case, Urban Affair wants to market Phoenix as the “urban heart of Arizona.” (Correction: The “urban heart” campaign is actually the work of Downtown Phoenix Partnership.  Thanks for those who commented and corrected me.)

DPJ’s new look certainly ratchets up the visual appeal — ah, the wonders of professional graphic designers.

Now, this move is probably a good thing in most respects.  Urban Affair shows great promise.  Their moves seem to show they understand why people like downtown—the urban appeal, the independent shops, the unique atmosphere.  Hopefully DPJ and their fan base will help guide them too.

Afro-Cuban All-Stars @ MAC

The Afro-Cuban All-Stars: jazz meets polyrhythms...and has a beautiful child.

The Afro-Cuban All-Stars: jazz meets polyrhythms...and has a beautiful child.

The Afro-Cuban All-Stars, an amazing afro-jazz band led by the Juan de Marcos, vocalist and member of the Buena Vista Social Club, are playing at Mesa Arts Center TONIGHT!!!

I can’t make it out, but anyone with $27 burning a hole in their pocket would be well served to spend it now. If you’re into anything jazzy, funky, or ethnic-y, go for it.

Also, if anyone grabs photos or would like to contribute with a review/story, e-mail me and we’ll post it!