I was at the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies' conference on journalism and the Web this past weekend. It was an interesting mix of commercials for various startups and frank discussions about how to improve our online content.
Still, it was a little strange to be talking about the future of news while massive change was occurring in Egypt.
As I write this, the situation in Egypt is wildly uncertain, and there's no way I could guess what will be happening by the time anyone reads this in the Tucson Weekly. However, I do know that it has been interesting to see how the story played out on America's Internet. While the story obviously was prominent in newspapers and televised media, updates were immediate and frequent on Tumblr news sites like ShortFormBlog and SoupSoup, which provided links to Twitter feeds, coverage on Al Jazeera, and whatever information they could get their hands on. It was fascinating to see a real movement of the people develop, against the odds, from thousands of miles away, between refreshes of a Safari page on my phone.
While the real concern involves what comes next for the people of Egypt, it's interesting to wonder: How long will this story be interesting for the citizen-journalism types covering it? Right now, there's a lot of information coming through, but when it dries up, what then? Iran was a hot online topic during that country's rounds of protest, but now, it's essentially off the radar again. Will we care about the people of Egypt when the story's less immediately thrilling? I don't know, but I hope so.
We continued following the updates from the doctors treating Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords; shared a Washington Post story that revealed accused shooter Jared Lee Loughner researched lethal injection, solitary confinement and political assassinations on the Internet before the rampage; shared tidbits from Giffords' office on the day of President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech; and let you know that Rush Limbaugh found it absurd that anyone would wear a ribbon to honor Giffords and the other victims of the shooting.
We gave you a list of state lawmakers who want to see Obama's birth certificate; shared a roundup of state environmental legislation via Sierra Club legislative lobbyist Sandy Bahr, who notes that "there is not much to like"; and let you know that Tucson's modern streetcar had cleared more administrative hurdles and was ready to start forking out federal and local dollars.
We brought you reports about border-security nut Shawna Forde, who is on trial in Pima County for her alleged role in a home invasion that left 9-year-old Brisenia Flores and her father, Raul Flores, dead in 2009; let you know that the Department of Homeland Security confirmed a Fox News story that an Islamic martyr book was found in the Arizona desert, but that officials also noted that there is no "credible information on terrorist groups operating along the Southwest border"; and told you that overloaded judges were declaring a judicial emergency in Arizona.
We recognized the 25th anniversary of the space shuttle Challenger disaster; chronicled the battle over Taco Bell's alleged "beef"; watched a new video from Sleigh Bells, playing the Rialto Theatre on April 18; brought you a Food Truck Diaries entry on Los Tacos del George; and let you know that Lindy's on Fourth was opening a second location on Oracle Road.
"I can't wait to drive to downtown, find parking, walk to a streetcar stop, wait for 20 minutes, and pay to take the trolley back and forth a couple miles past empty shops and subsidized businesses I have no interest in."
—TucsonWeekly.com commenter HopeChange will stick with cars, thanks ("Modern Street Car: Ready, Set, Go!" The Range, Jan. 28).
It had to happen eventually. This Friday marks the beginning of the end of the University Medical Center memorial to Gabrielle Giffords and the others injured and killed in the Jan. 8 shootings. We went down to UMC to look at the last days of the memorial, talk to those who are visiting, and reflect on Tucson's month of grief.
Also, we bring our Food Truck Diaries series to Tucson Weekly TV and the eastside of Tucson, looking at the string of food trucks on Craycroft Road between Golf Links Road and 22nd Street. We try to figure out why that street—and, specifically, which truck on that street—serves the best food.