Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

State’s oldest news provider becomes its newest citizen journalism Web site

Text of the press release I sent out yesterday to area media about the new design:


TUCSON – Monday morning, July 6th, the new TucsonCitizen.com will launch its redesigned Web site as a home for Tucson’s citizen journalists. A compendium of blogs, it will serve as The Voice of Tucson, written by Tucsonans for Tucsonans. They will provide news, information, opinion, commentary and perspective on the issues, interests and events that affect daily life in the Old Pueblo.

Mark B. Evans and Ryn Gargulinski, veteran journalists who worked for the print edition of the 139-year-old Tucson Citizen, administer the site. So far, they have recruited more than two dozen Tucsonans to write about topics ranging from politics and science, to food and art trends. Mark and Ryn also have blogs on the site.

They are continuing to recruit citizen journalists and hope to have more than 50 people blogging by the end of the summer.

“The goal is to provide a Web site that gives voice to people who want to inform their community about issues that might not attract the attention of the daily newspaper or TV news,” Evans said. “Or to provide their neighbors and fellow citizens some perspective or different points of view about the issues of the day that might differ from the point of view of the dominant editorial voice in the city – the Arizona Daily Star.”

There will always be a need and a role for paid, professional journalists, but professional journalism over the past few decades has erected barriers to who can be a journalist, Evans said.

“The internet has broken down those barriers, allowing anyone who wants to provide their community information the ability to do so,” he said. “But the World Wide Web can be a lonely place. A single blog, fighting for attention in a wilderness of blogs, can have a hard time attracting readers. The great idea of TucsonCitizen.com is that it provides those bloggers scale and marketing.

“By creating one site with many bloggers, it’s all for one and one for all. They all benefit from each other. Plus, it’s easier for readers who now don’t have to filter through the great cacophony of the Internet searching for information about Tucson – they need only bookmark one page – TucsonCitizen.com,” Evans said. “Additionally, we provide our bloggers marketing to the community at a level that few could have afforded on their own.”

There are more than a million people living in the Tucson Valley and there are nearly that many stories to tell. It’s difficult, if not impossible for the continually shrinking ranks of professional journalists to tell them all, Evans said.

“So why not let the people tell their own stories?” he suggested. “We give them the pen and paper, so to speak, all they have to do is write it.”

Another great benefit of TucsonCitizen.com is that the technical complexity of creating a blog is often a roadblock for some people who want to be a citizen journalist. TucsonCitizen.com remains a full partner in Tucson Newspapers, the jointly run company owned by Gannett and Lee Enterprises, publisher of the Star. Mark and Ryn and the online staff of Tucson Newspapers offer training and assistance to TucsonCitizen.com bloggers, reducing the complexity of blogging and the Internet to simplicity.

Moreover, the digital resources of the old Tucson Citizen newspaper have been retained and are being made available to TucsonCitizen.com bloggers, including digital video cameras, a video editing station and a photo and recording studio for newsmaker interviews, news webcasts and so forth.

The new site launched Monday is just the beginning. It will grow in sophistication and add more functions, such as live streaming of events or newsmaker interviews, as the number of bloggers grows and they become more sophisticated in their blogging.

“This site is just the ground floor of what I hope to be a very tall building of citizen journalists adding to the depth and breadth of the available information about life in Tucson,” Evans said.
Mark and Ryn are still recruiting bloggers. If you want to write a blog at TucsonCitizen.com, call them at 520-573-4561, or e-mail Mark at mevans@tucsoncitizen.com, or Ryn at rynski@tucsoncitizen.com.

May 15, 2009: Gannett Co., Inc., owner of the Tucson Citizen, announces it will cease printing a newspaper May 16 but continue the Citizen’s Web site as a home for citizen journalism. Former Citizen Assistant City Editor Mark B. Evans is hired as the site’s editor and former staff writer Ryn Gargulinski is hired as the assistant editor but instead chooses the whimsical title Ryngmaster.

May 18: Evans and Gargulinski begin blogging on the old Tucson Citizen news web site while a temporary blog site is developed by Tucson Newspapers web designers and programmers. Gannett-owned TucsonCitizen.com remains a full partner in Tucson Newspapers with Lee Enterprises, the publisher of the Arizona Daily Star.

June 1: A temporary multi-user blog site is launched – TucsonCitizen.com – while a larger, more functional site is built. Twelve new citizen journalists begin blogging.

July 6: The new TucsonCitizen.com is launched. It is the ground floor for what site Editor Mark B. Evans intends to be a very tall building of citizen journalists.

The Bloggers:

Mark B. Evans – Editor’s Blog – Caveat Lector
Mark is the editor of TucsonCitizen.com and he writes about local and state politics and government, freedom of information and the news industry. He’s a graduate of the University of Arizona School of Journalism and his last job before heading up TC.com was as an assistant city editor for the Tucson Citizen. Before that he was editor of the EXPLORER in Oro Valley and a reporter in Coolidge.

Ryn Gargulinski – Rynski’s Blogski; Rynski’s Dating Game; Rynski’s Day of the Dead; Sawyer Says: Animal Talk
Ryn Gargulinski is an artist, author, performer, poet and Ryngmaster for TucsonCitizen.com. Her frequently creepy writing and art have been widely published, from India to New York, and include two illustrated humor books. Catch her weekly column on KLPX FM 96.1 every Thursday and her art around town. Learn more at www.ryngargulinski.com

Ben McNitt, Charles Spillar, Herb Stratford, David Aguirre – Artistic Tucson
Ben McNitt is a woodworker – www.mcnittbros.com – and volunteers with the communications team for downtown Tucson’s Warehouse Arts Management Organization. In previous careers, Ben was a journalist with the Arizona Daily Star and Tucson Citizen (1970s) and CBS News and CNN based in Cairo (1980s), and conservation advocate with the National Wildlife Federation in Washington, DC, retiring in 2006 as Senior Communications Director.
Charles Spillar has been a professional artist for 21 years with hundreds of public exhibitions and collectors internationally. Art has been featured in over 50 publications regional and national. Freelance journalist, screenwriter & book publisher with many articles in print.  Presently spokesman and director of public relations for Tucson’s Valley of the Moon. Involved with WAMO (Warehouse Artists Management Organization) on their Communications Committee.
Herb Stratford is a 26-year Tucson resident and artist with 20+ years in arts work in the community with a focus on downtown galleries and non-profit support of the arts. Working with the Tucson Arts Coalition, Dinnerware, Central Arts Tucson Arts District Partnership and others. I was the founder of the Fox Tucson Theatre Foundation and led that project to fruition. Currently teaching arts management at the U of A and consulting for historic theatres across the country.
David Aguirre is an artist and president of the Tucson Art Coalition and Dinnerware Contemporary Art Gallery.

Carolyn Sugiyama Classen – Carolyn’s Community
Carolyn Sugiyama Classen was a 2008 Tucson Citizen My Tucson columnist. She grew up in a sugar plantation community on Hawai’i Island, belonged to a Jesuit “koinonia” at the Boston Paulist Center. She was a practicing attorney, legislative aide on Capitol Hill, now a Hearing Officer in Small Claims Court.”

Dan Starr -  Dan Starr’s Music Notes
Dan Starr is a native Tucsonan and a lifelong musician. He teaches piano and keyboard, specializing in adult students, and performs himself for private functions. In addition, he writes a blog for adult piano students and has authored two books on the subject. His tucsoncitizen.com blog covers all aspects of music with an eye towards fun discussion.

Jay Dee – Energy Healing
Jay Dee is an EFT Practitioner, Performance Coach and Channel.  I’ve enjoyed success working with athletes, business and sales professionals, and sufferers of pain, disease and emotional distress.  I also enjoy helping others find their path in life and helping them connect with their higher self. For many years I have been drawn to Energy Work and Energy Healing, and I am overjoyed to now be working in this rewarding field. I am also the assistant moderator of Tucson Metaphysics and the organizer of Tucson Energy Healers Group.  I also lead a free, weekly EFT practice group.

Don Smith – Fort Buckley
Don Smith is a former Tucson Citizen “My Tucson” writer. He is a defense contractor at Fort Huachuca, a retired Army Reserve Military Intelligence officer, politically conservative and a foot soldier for local GOP candidates at election time. His blog focuses on: Conservatism; Defense and national security intelligence affairs; and National security issues.

Renee Schafer Horton – God Blogging
Renee Schafer Horton, a journalistic gun for hire and former Tucson Citizen higher education reporter, spent more than a decade as a correspondent for the Catholic press and nearly as long as a commentator on religion in both the secular and Catholic press. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Oregon State University, and has wracked up enough hours reporting on and researching Christianity, Islam and Judaism that she probably qualifies for an honorary master’s in theology or religious studies.

Jimmy Petrol – Humor: Fueled by Petrol
Jimmy Petrol writes a humor blog, offering his unique perspective on life in Tucson, Arizona and the good ol’ USA.

Steven G. Smith – ilBLOGical tidBITs
A virtual soapbox reflecting views and opinions about world, national and local events, politics, points of view, annoyances, pet peeves and general goings-on to educate, inform and entertain readers, writers and voyeurs of the blogosphere – a social networking dystopian view of the universe.

Debra Thornley – Jump Write In
Debra Thornley, M.A., is a writing group facilitator trained in poetry therapy and journal writing techniques. She is a mentor for Prescott College Tucson campus, and teaches non-credit courses for Pima Community College.  Debra is establishing the Tucson Transformational Writing Center, and moderates the Tucson Coffeehouse Poetry Writers Meetup Group.

Karen Nelson – Kare about Health
Karen Nelson has an advanced degree in exercise physiology and has held multiple certifications in health and fitness. She has worked in several health clinics, was director of certification for the American Council on Exercise and worked as a physiologist and health educator at a world-renown spa.

Donovan Durband – Meet Me Downtown
Donovan Durband spent about ten years with the Tucson Downtown Alliance and Downtown Tucson Partnership, most of that time as the executive director.  He was the editor of Downtown Tucsonan, a monthly magazine published by those organizations.  He has lived in Tucson for 20 years, and he has three degrees from the University of Arizona (in Economics; Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; and Planning)

Kynn Bartlett – Next of Kynn
Kynn writes about a variety of issues, especially media, from liberal perspective.

Tim Bentley – Running Man
Tim Bentley is an avid and active member of Tucson’s running community. He’s also on the board of the Southern Arizona Roadrunners, regularly runs with the Workout Group and even directs some races. A competitive runner in college, Tim now enjoys running from a seasoned, more lighthearted perspective.  He hopes that you’ll be rewarded with some insights, tips and info on the running scene in Tucson and beyond.

Lorrie Brownstone – Running with Gefilte Fish
A standup comedian and former Tucson Citizen assistant city editor, Lorrie writes about comedy and jokes about everything.

Glenn Weyant – SPLATT
For roughly 25 years Glenn Weyant has earned his living with words and sound mostly. A 1986 graduate of Hofstra University, Weyant worked as a full-time journalist for roughly 10 years in New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts before moving to Tucson in 1995.  Once in Tucson his occupational definition expanded to include freelance journalist/writer, educator, baker, stay-at-home-dad, instrument designer/builder, hiking guide, sound sculptor and artist as warranted. In 2006 Weyant founded www.sonicanta.com, a Web site and independent cd-r label dedicated to sound exploration. A blog and subtext for that sound work is maintained at www.glennweyant.com

Morgan Schlaline – techjunkie
Morgan has been an IT support guy for nearly 15 years.  He is also a songwriter, humorist and all around great guy.  His fascination for tech gadgets and innovation combined with a dry and absurd sense of humor should keep the reader entertained as well as informed.  He is also very handsome and loves to refer to himself in the third person.

Art Jacobson – The Data Port
Art Jacobson has been a Tucson resident for 35 years. He wrote radio programs for WUOM, The University of Michigan, and was a director at NBC affiliate WMAQ. A freelance writer since arriving in Tucson, he wrote “A Column of Opinion” for The Desert Leaf. His special interests include politics, motorcycling and acting.

Geoffrey Notkin – The Logical Lizard
Geoffrey Notkin is a science writer, columnist, meteorite specialist, television host, and photographer. He was born in New York City, raised in London, England, and now makes his home in the Sonoran Desert in Arizona. A frequent contributor to science and art magazines, his work has appeared in Reader’s Digest, The Village Voice, Wired, Meteorite, Seed, Sky & Telescope, Rock & Gem, Lapidary Journal, Geotimes, New York Press, American Theater Arts, and numerous other national and international publications. He works regularly in television and has appeared in documentaries for the BBC, PBS, Discovery Channel, History Channel, National Geographic, A&E, Travel Channel and co-stars in the Science Channel’s adventure series Meteorite Men.

Karyn Zoldan – To Market To Food Market
Karyn Zoldan enjoys dancing with herbs and discovering what stores or farmers markets have the best deals, the freshest local ingredients, and the most unusual food finds. She has written about restaurants, gourmet kitchens, and marketing topics locally, nationally and virtually.

Polly Higgins – Tucson Metromix
Polly Higgins is the Editor of Tucson Metromix, a one-stop shopping site for arts, food and entertainment events. She held the same position for the Tucson Citizen.

Mark Kerr – Tucson Observer
Mark Kerr writes about LGBT issues.

PABlo Bley – Tucson Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror Guy
PABlo Bley is an artist, author, composer, designer, entrepreneur, inventor, public speaker, techno-evangelist…and eco-sustainability advocate (which means being into green stuff like  conservation, ecology, environmental, etc.), who doesn’t eat meat, and rides a bicycle around Tucson.
Tucson’s Fashion Edge

Mike Brewer – Veteran Veritas
Michael Brewer’s Veteran Veritas provides a space for advocacy and dialogue with all Arizona veterans.  Mike is a trained Veterans Service Officer, and published writer in the arena of Veterans Affairs.  He served in Marine Corps with the 7th Marines and Marine Air Wing with two stints in Vietnam. He is currently a Mentor for returning combat veterans at the Merritt Retreat Center in Payson, Arizona. He has extensive training in the care and transition to civilian life for returning combat veterans.

Jonathan DuHamel – Wry Heat
Jonathan DuHamel, an economic geologist, writes wry Heat. The blog is mainly about environmental policy and natural resources. Geologists can be considered as one of the “climate scientists” because the climate history of this planet is recorded in the rocks.

Keith Ames – Zoom Zoom Tucson
My involvement with racing in Arizona began in 86′ as a fan, as a track  owner/promoter, as a sponsor and as a Dirt Late Model owner. I grew up  in a racing family and began racing in 1953 at age 5. I enjoy watching,  participating and promoting all forms of circle track racing. I am the  Broker and Owner of Dorado Realty.

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