Friday, January 24, 2014

On fighting the good fight, film, and onion dogs-10 memorable posts

Before I get to my list, let me just say that my 4 years and 25 weeksas a contributor, editor, and board member of Dane101 has been an exceptional experience. For me, fighting the good fight meant supporting the idea of a collaboratively run media organization. Whether that was writing articles about local video game producers, taking tickets at aBroom Street Session concert, or waking up at 5:00 a.m. to dig through the day’s news for Breakfast Links, I did it to be a productive part of the whole. It was part fun and part frustration; it was part work and part play and a whole lot of learning experience.

I learned the ins and outs of crowdsourcing and shared content. I learned about image attribution and what it meant to be on the receiving end of unsolicited material. I learned about muffin tops. I also learned about paying attention – to details, to politics, and to the voices of our neighbors.

Dane101 was an outlet for an ever changing array of voices on a variety of topics, more than I have ever seen anywhere else. You could read about the local reaction to the death of Michael Jackson while downloading a free Christmas album. You could debate whether or not Brett Favre was going to stay retired while planning your Fire Ball cosplay. The non-sequitur of articles and posts was mind-boggling at times: classical music reviews shared screen space with a series on local sexual health and the adult entertainment businesses. It grew to its most visible point in 2011, with the mashup of protests and Wisconsin Film Fest coverage vying for eyeballs:

That approach, as opposed to a more focused one, led to the insightful, interesting, and plain zany posts that I’ve included on my list. It may also have contributed to the end of Dane101, because when your focus is every- and anything, it can be a hard sell. Still, if it’s true that the journey is its own destination, this has been one heck of a trip. Thanks to all the people who welcomed me aboard: Jesse, Emily, Shane, Michael, especially, and Christie, Mark, Scott, Adam, Christian, Jason, Kat, Laura, Stacy and all the rest (don’t be strangers, y’all!).

So here they are, my own personal 10 memorable Dane101 posts, in no particular order (except for #1-which, sorry everyone, is my favorite of all time).
Date: 4/30/2009
Author: Jesse Russell
Why it is memorable: This was "the little post that could". Once upon a time, Jesse ordered a shirt and tracked its incredible journey. This isn't so much memorable in and of itself, but the post somehow comes up in Google searches a lot and has been one of the top ten hit-getters on Dane101 since it debuted. 

9. Title: Breakfast Links (Blinks)
Date: We aimed for every week day. I started only about a year ago. My day was Tuesday.
Author: Editors and some hearty volunteers
Why it is memorable: When I finally started doing Blinks, there were years of experience behind the daily ritual of combing the local media for interesting items. I was forwarded a list and would painstakingly work through the links, also being careful not to repeat something that had already been listed the day before. But I have to admit, 1. I found this very beneficial both on the days I was doing the combing as well as the days I referred to the Blinks to see a snapshot of what was happening, and 2. my biggest joy was looking up the items to mention in the "on this day" section. (I learned that most of the time it's sports scores and battles.)
Date: 2/14/2011
Why it is memorable: On Valentine's Day 2011, hundreds of Valentines were delivered to the Governor of Wisconsin from the University of Wisconsin teachers, students, faculty and staff. It's a moment early on in the protest movement that I won't forget. Also on this day, Dane101 published a great round up of coverage of the bill.
Date: 10/16/2009
Author: Chris Staples
Why it is memorable: Before I got to know him as the proprietor of the S*tty Barn, I read this entry by Chris regarding his ownership of Furthermore Beer. As a craft brew fan, and as a person who loves to see the promotion and success of all things cool from Wisconsin, I was interested to hear the background and arguments surrounding this bill. On 4/28/2010, the tax failed to pass pursuant to Senate Joint Resolution 1.

6. Title: Wisconsin Film Fest
Why it is memorable: OK, I cheated; I could not choose just one link for the WI Film Fest coverage. Every year, Dane101 worked to cover the festival with as much wo/manpower as it could muster, and every year we added something new or changed something up. From live Tweeting, to videos of the Q&As, to interviews before and during the Fest, this was not only one of the most exhilarating times to be a part of Dane101, it was also one of the most fun times to be in Madison, WI.
Date: 7/2/2010
Why it is memorable: Honestly, you have to ask? Just go watch it.
Date: 4/5/2010
Author: Emily Mills
Why it is memorable: Not only did this post crash the site after Mr. Gaiman linked to it, but I had a personal hand running the actual event. It was magical.

3. Title: ALRC Rundowns
Date: Monthly
Why it is memorable: I never knew you could learn so much about a town by reading about their alcohol license problems.

2. Title: Events!
Why it is memorable: There are too many to list, so again I had to cheat. What's Your Damage (WYD) brought back everyone's favorite high school horror open mic after an absence of a number of years. From DJ Nick Nice at the Tron Party came one of my favorite Daft Punk mixes ever. The Fire Ball Masquerade was / is / continues to be the most outstanding dance-y, costume-y, late night dress up party around, and Halloweekend brought the world this amazing photo:

Photo by Janet Campbell
Date: 12/21/2009
Author: Adam Schabow
Why it is memorable: I don't know why this 13 minute video sticks out so keenly in my memory. I had only been back in the Madison area for a short time, had just bought a house, just got married, and was settling in to do some real writing, and then this was posted, in all its unsettling glory. Actually, I think it was one of the comments, calling out the motley crew and questioning their motives that got me, and the subsequent posting of even more ridiculousness to the thread. Long live Onion Dog.

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