In Microtones, our newsletter-first column.
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Instead of our usual Microtones column this week, I wanted to remind you that I’m holding the first-ever Tone Madison Office Hours this Friday afternoon at the Social Justice Center on Willy Street. I’ll be there from 1 to 5 p.m., and maybe I’ll head somewhere nearby for a drink after.
The whole idea is that people can come talk to me (and any other Tone Madison writers/editors who are able to stop by). That’s it. People can learn about becoming Tone Madison Sustainers, but more importantly I just want to hear people’s thoughts and questions, both about our publication and about music, culture, and politics in Madison generally. The actual office is still upstairs at Communication on Milwaukee Street, but I wanted to experiment with doing this at a few different spaces, and the Social Justice Center’s Mutual Aid Workspace, or MAW, is really accessible and open in a way that I like. I plan to do these quarterly and change up locations, times, and days, just to accommodate as many people as I can. I’ll also be coordinating with the rest of the Tone Madison crew to get other writers and editors involved.
The point is that without you—our readers and neighbors—journalism (in my case, at least) is just a socially awkward person hunched over a laptop. One of my frustrations is that small publications like ours rely so much on large, unaccountable tech companies to reach people in the first place. Sometimes social media referrals dominate our traffic, sometimes search engines do, and a surprising number of people actually navigate over to tone madison dot com on purpose to see what we’re doing. I worry about relying entirely too much on Facebook and Google—hardly a novel problem in this day and age. I’m as much an internet creature as anyone, and I’m generally a good sport about learning to use social media and other online tools as best I can. Meet people where they’re at, and so forth.
But it’s an important thing to think about when just about everyone who cares about our work lives within 10 miles or so of where I’m sitting now. The whole point is feeling connected to Madison and to other people who care about it. And one of the really nice things about Tone Madison is that I actually get to feel like we’re writing for smart, caring, complex people. Having an audience you like and respect is really special. It helps me stay motivated and interested.
This whole relationship often gets mediated, in one form or another, through platforms that clearly don’t understand or care about local media. We’re all here because we give a shit about very specific things happening in this particular place. Reporting on it requires face-to-face conversation with the people we’re writing about. Why shouldn’t it also require face-to-face interaction with the people reading our work?
So, where I’m starting with this is to just post up somewhere and invite people. That’s it. Nothing elaborate or glamorous about it, just a chance to make this whole relationship a little different and I hope a little healthier.
New this week:
Madison musician Tyler Fassnacht discusses his solo project TS Foss with Steven Spoerl.
Dayna Long details how PFAS chemicals have polluted Madison’s water, and what it has to do with the F-35s.
Ahead of Kayo Dot’s Tone Madison-presented show on March 5 at Communication, bandleader Toby Driver has an in-depth conversation with Grant Phipps.
Repo Man screens Wednesday at the Central Library.
Tubal Cain closes down Art In with a release show for a new album this Saturday.
More events of note in this week’s Madison calendar.
Elsewhere on the Madison internet: Red Madison’s Clare Michaud offers an ecosocialist vision for Madison. Tani Diakite releases a new EP of live recordings from Alchemy. The Capital Times reports on Black Panther Party co-founder Bobby Seale’s talk this week at Madison College.
Upcoming Tone Madison Events!
February 28: Tone Madison Office Hours. Social Justice Center, 1 to 4 p.m.