For many years, the Black Rock Gazette has served as Black Rock City’s official newspaper, producing a Gate edition prior to the event and five on-playa editions, produced and published daily by a hardworking team of volunteers, and printed in Reno each day for delivery at the event.
This spring during our budget creation cycle, we have reexamined the newspaper’s mission and production process, and have made a decision to make some changes. In 2005 we will produce only the Gate edition of the Black Rock Gazette. We will no longer produce the five on-playa editions.
Historically, the Black Rock Gazette has served as a medium for the sharing of news, entertainment, information, and sometimes, emergency issues. It has, among other things, helped us accommodate the needs and desires of supervising agencies at the event. However, as with all expenditures, budget items such as the BRG are assessed annually. We looked carefully at our organization’s current communication needs and our expenditures, not only for printing, but buildings, golf carts, radios, staff support, and computers. We polled our regional contacts concerning the usefulness of the Black Top Gazette in the Spring and Fall, and we considered the volumes of feedback we get from people who read the Gazette on the playa. We also considered the role of our city’s radio stations, signage, the Burning Man Journal, the Survival Guide, word of mouth, and other mechanisms, and found that there are many methods that have proven effective in communicating to a mass audience on the playa, and a number of other new avenues of communication that are also ripe for exploration. Having taken all these things into account, we decided we will limit our expenditures in 2005, and forego a daily newspaper. The Black Rock Gazette will remain an important organ for the organization, and may still be called into action as necessary.
Burning Man extends its special thanks to Mike “Durgy” Durgavich for his hard work and enterprising efforts in leading the publication of the paper since 2001. Durgy was the most recent in a line of publishers that included Vicki Olds (Shibumi), Rusty Blazenhoff, Stuart Mangrum, and Michael Mikel. We also thank the entire staff of the Black Rock Gazette, a stalwart team of writers, editors, designers, photographers, distribution volunteers, and other supporters who have proved that the impossible is possible by producing a daily newspaper in a temporary city in the middle of an empty desert. We salute you, and thank you for all your efforts.
(edited by request to properly credit a previous editor)