Monday, June 5, 2023

Thirteen Years of The SL Newser

 In 2010, the leading newsletter in Second Life was the Second Life Newspaper, run by JamesT Juno and Dana Vanmoer. For over three years, it had been reporting the news around Second Life. It had grown from a small blog, to a well-staffed online publication bringing out the news from around the virtual world. From people who made Second Life more interesting, to noteworthy places one could see and go about in, to notable events one could go to, we reported on the news big and small.
But on June 5 2010, James and Dana announced it's closure. Sadly events in real-life had taken difficult turns and it was time for them to leave in order to focus on them. They had let the staff know ahead of time, and four of the reporters, Gemma Cleanslate, Grey Lupindo, Shellie Sands, and Bixyl Shuftan (myself) took it upon themselves to start a new newsletter: The Second Life Newser. 

Almost right away, we had some big stories to tell. Just a few days later came news of Linden Lab laying off almost a third of its staff. Later on came the closure of one of the more popular sims, a scandal that led to the shutting down of the most popular third-party viewer, the resignation of Linden Lab's CEO and Philip Linden (Philip Rosedale) temporarily taking over as intirem CEO, there was the decision to merge the Teen Grid with the main one, and of course the Relay for Life and the Second Life Birthday.
We had our work cut out for us, but we also had support. Just after our start, the Sunweaver community gave us a home, providing an office for us. We soon had a sponsor, the Podex Exchange, which was soon followed by others, as well as people paying us to advertise. More reporters would join the ranks of our team, which meant more stories we could cover. And of course readers came to see us as a reliable and useful source of news about this virtual world as we continued to bring news stories to them, big and small. And before long, the team once again were the number one source of news in Second Life. 

We've entertained as well as informed. There are the cartoons that appear twice a week, and there are the music videos that we show most Saturdays. But foremost on our minds is bringing you "news you can use" from what's going on with Linden Lab to interesting events and places. Unlike some other publications, the Newser has never gone out of it's way to create controversy for it's own sake. There has been occasional trouble, and troublemakers, that we felt needed a story. But we have sought to make the coverage of our virtual world an overall positive one, to report it not as full of griefers, but as an enjoyable place where one can find all kinds of interesting and fun sights, activities, and people. Over time, we would occasionally write about games and other virtual worlds. But Second Life has always been, and will remain, our main focus. 

Sadly, over time we've had to say goodbye to some teammates and old friends. Shellie Sands and Gray Lupindo would end up having to leave to take care of things in real life. Breezes Babii, our coworker from the old SLN would pass away. The Podex Exchange would shut down after Linden Lab changed it's terms of service and made it's continued operation no longer possible. But over time, we've had more talent come in to join the team. And more sponsors have stepped up to support the paper.

Thirteen years later, much in Second Life has changed. Sims have come and gone. Mesh has changed the way objects and avatars are made. Linden Lab would be purchased by investors. But Second Life goes on. It's safe to assume that unless there's some economic catastrophe of some kind, this virtual world will be around for many years to come. And as long as events in our real-lives remain smooth, we'll be around to cover it.
Special thanks to our sponsors, Farshore Radio, Lorena Chung Estates, Montecito Bay, the Safe Water Foundation, and the Sunweaver community which has been the home to our office all these years. Thanks to to Linden Lab which created this virtual world to begin with. Thanks to James and Dana to showing us the way in how to report the news here. And of course our thanks to you the readers.
"And that's the way it is." Good day from the Second Life Newser.
Bixyl Shuftan
Second Life Newser

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