Monday, December 6, 2010

Pipeline: 2011 Plans, Advertiser and Reader Feedback

(Note: I am posting this here to prevent 'scroll fatigue' in the actual Pipeline. Our Editorial Policy can be read here.)

Whether it's attending a community health fair and reporting on it like we did this past Friday, or waiting for a parade to pass by on a cold Sunday morning, or scouring the neighborhood and local craft fairs to find gift ideas that we think are unique and fun, or following up on businesses-yet-to-be-opened, or editing the work of contributing writers, or paring down a few hundred photos we personally snap each week, and then another few hundred from Philin Phlash, we are constantly trying to improve The Wicker Park Bucktown Pipeline , which is a weekly, independently produced e-newsletter, focusing on the Chicago neighborhoods of Wicker Park and Bucktown. We highlight community news, real estate, art, independently owned businesses, and lots of unclassified "Tidbits."

In recent months, with the addition of Philin Phlash to our team, we've added original (albeit out-of-the-neighborhood) "tidbits" like images shot by Phlash at a downtown Rahm rally and during Snow Days at Navy Pier.We really are having a lot of fun [update: well, now that we've added, as of Jan. 10, 2011, an additional 40-hous of NON-Pipeline work to our weekly schedule, "fun" is up for's more like OCD masochism and 5AM mornings before work, thus we are being much more selective with the news that we include due to time constraints] and many of you tell us, "It shows


I've worked as both a staff newspaper reporter, and as a freelancer, as well as a sales rep in various industries. (Scroll on down & find me in the brown hat raising a pint at Pint, circa 2008). Phlash is a true newspaperman, a former publisher of a local rag, the Wicker Park Voice, with a hardcore nose for news and a unique take on the world that he brings with him every Tuesday morning when he visits Pipeline HQ and shares the photos he snapped from the previous week. (Find Phlash with a dubious expression in front of my 'It's OK to be you poster." The poster was intended for my niece but it was too expensive to mail and I think I need this reinforcement on my wall too.) Nandika Doobay is the youngest of our crew, having recently graduated from a city college with a minor in journalism. Nandika is rocking the CAPS meetings and contributes occasional articles, like her upcoming December on Damen adventure that we're looking forward to featuring in tomorrow's issue. (Find Nandika in front of the Pipeline Scarecrow which she helped to design for the WPC Scarecrow Extravaganza) Pat J. Daily is our trusted copy editor and occasional theater reviewer. Pat formerly worked at the Chicago Reader, still freelances for the Reader, and is used to slashing up my words, and, at my urging, deleting most of them. Pat's sharp eyes catch all sort of mistakes, often at odd hours since we're always scrambling to get the latest issue to Pat. (Find Pat in front of a can of Tecate at Big Star).

The addition of Phlash, who, by his own reckoning, is "hopefully adding some balls to your girly newsletter, Alisa!" also means more work. But we suspect it's time well spent. Even strangers I don't know are writing in to say that they're enjoying Phlash's "Sound OFF" columns. So, yes, now we have balls too.

We are excited about 2011, which will include more design improvements and a functional and searchable web site. It is our hope that the pipeline will continue to be the kind of publication where you can expect reliable, fresh, professionally written and edited, weekly original content. When we stop having fun, we'll stop doing it, though it seems like there's an unlikely chance of that since each time we 'walk the streets' we find new inspiration.

Following is a bit of feedback, received from readers and advertisers. We've removed names and identifying details for privacy. If you are interested in partnering with us, and perhaps becoming an executive/corporate umbrella sponsor to contribute to The Wicker Park Bucktown Pipeline's growth in 2011, we'd love to meet with you and see if there's a way we can fuel each other's continued development. We are proud to say we are in this thing for the long haul. We are so happy so many of you have been with us since the beginning, aka our first issue in April of 2009! We're looking forward to a bright future made even brighter by being together with you in 2011. It's not just "our" pipeline, but yours too, so keep the ideas coming, along with your news tips and suggestions. We can be reached at

We try to answer most pertinent emails, though we receive a large amount of email and cannot respond to every message or request. Just check the next pipeline to see if we've included your news. Most of the time we try our best to do so, and even if we don't reply to you, we often add your news to our listings or elsewhere in the newsletter. We hope that you check out the pipeline to read it first and consider it to be yet another 'free way' to get the word out in the blogosphere second, if you catch our drift. We're really trying to infuse meaning into what we do, and we want to make the time we cannot afford to continue investing into this thing feel like hours and days well spent. If you feel your news is urgent, go ahead and add that lil 'red flag' thingamajig to your message, or if you have my number, send a text message. Unlike many folks, I do not have 'Net on my phone, nor do I necessarily want it on my phone, and when I sit down at the computer it is usually to scan email and get crackin' on the next pipeline.

Happy Holidays! See you on the streets!

and Pat


Hi Alisa,
The new look is terrific. Your creation just keeps getting better and I look forward to it each week. You are probably not aware but my wife and I bought a XXXX company in XXXX last June and now reside in XXXX. We still have our properties in Wicker Park and the many friends we made there over the past XX years. The Pipeline helps us maintain the connection. I am receiving it at my old email address. Please update to and keep up the great work. I hope it has become financially rewarding to you! With your creativity and drive you deserve the success.
Best wishes,

Thanks for the mail. I'm reading your newspaper. It’s a really cool idea and i bet everyone must love it.
Hope you are doing great and keep up the good work.

Also, been meaning to tell you that after following Pipeline for a good while now, the weekly edition has evolved into a really informative and entertaining news source. The design & edit flow is casual and the range of photos of folks from all walks of the neighborhood is truly awesome. It is a lot of fun to see so many people smiling! Well done!

I've been reading the Miner column on LEN and the comments. Saw you come up therein, and detected the burnout feeling. I hope you power though. Your newsletter is great, and I always enjoy reading and browsing it ...
All best,

Infinite thanks - excellent article.

Hey Aly:
Add me back please. I've missed your Pipeline.

I get a lot of email, and I barely read any of it, but I always read The Pipeline. Thank you!

Just a short "Thank You" for all the work you do in putting together the Pipeline.
Your column is well written and informative. I really look forward to reading it to learn what is going on in Wicker Park.

Thank you for making the PIPELINE a source of communication for the Wicker Park / Bucktown area. This online news source has made me aware of people and places in our community that were not familiar to me. Recently, I was in one of the Chase branches in the area and the teller recognized me from an article which you had written about our store. Thank you again for your dedication and I hope you continue providing the residents and business people of Wicker Park/Bucktown with information on which they can depend.

I just wanted to send you a quick note to say that I thoroughly enjoy The Pipeline. Keep up the good work!


"We had 30 new sign ups last month. It could have been our mailer, but you are the only local place that we choose to advertise. And I told you that I will continue to advertise with you as long as you do the Pipeline. You know more about the neighborhood than I do, and I've been here 20 years!"-- A local gym owner, upon renewing for the seventh time

"We had a lot of people come to our show. I am guessing some of them heard about it from The Pipeline. Keep up the good work. We really appreciate what you're doing in helping us get the word out on a local level" -- A local gallery

"Yes, we'd love to renew again. Send me an invoice." -- A local shop

"Wow, I love the facelift! Do you need any new sponsors?" -- A soon-to-be advertiser

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