Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.
I just got back from Austin, Texas, and the Association of Alternative Newsmedia’s annual convention. It was great to meet with colleagues from other alternative newsweeklies across the country, and I had an especially nice time talking to folks from other smaller market papers, like the Eugene Weekly, the Tulsa Voice, and North Carolina’s Triad City Beat—great papers y’all should check out if you’re ever in those necks of the woods.
One disturbing and gross thing was how much discussion I heard about “native advertising” and “branded content,” which is to say, ads that looks like articles and articles created to promote sponsors. Yuck. This kind of crap is getting more common as advertisers and publishers look to monetize digital content. Readers beware.
I attended engaging discussions about women’s health—sadly, an especially contentious issue in Texas—copyright laws, historical reporting, data journalism, and more. It was an invigorating experience, and many kudos to the Austin Chronicle for putting it together.
And Austin itself is amazing. Folks who say that Reno might become “the next Austin,” in terms of live music, must not realize what a long way we have to go. There’s so much live music happening all over that town, it can be overwhelming, and it’s surprisingly eclectic. In just three nights there, I saw honky tonk greats Dale Watson & Ray Benson, esteemed bluesman Jimmie Vaughn, super cool Austin post-rock band Marriage, and a fantastic Brazilian psychedelic band, Boogarins.
But the wildest thing I saw was mounted Austin police officers clearing Sixth Street of pedestrian traffic at 3 a.m. on the night of July 8. The street closes to automobile traffic during weekend nights so bar hoppers can wander aimlessly, but as the police cleared the streets of early morning revelers, there was a palpable tension in the air—at least partly a result of the terrible events that occurred upstate the previous night.