The Communications Department serves all parts of the Burning Man organization. Not only do these staff members oversee the production and distribution of information to our participants and to the outside world, but they also help to administer and direct the Project’s internal communications policies and procedures. The department experienced one of its busiest years on record in 2004. The event itself may have experienced a controlled and organic growth, but the refining of processes within the organization and the near-explosive growth of our Regional Network keeps the entire Communications Department on its toes for ways to better negotiate its constant evolution.

The Print Production team refined processes and found new ways to bring writers, editors, photographers, and designers into efforts to keep up with the manifold challenges of communication between our organization and our participants. Once again, everything from the ticket announcement in January to the schedule of events in the What, Where, When at the Black Rock City Gate was crafted by participant hands … including another beautiful incarnation of our September-to-September Burning Man wall calendar.

The Black Rock Gazette once again produced its six on-playa editions, as well as two off-playa editions of the Black Top Gazette, designed to share Burning Man news with attendees at the Decompression and Town Hall meetings and with regional groups worldwide. The challenges of power outages on the playa and all that dust in the equipment didn’t stop these intrepid reporters, and through it all, they brought us the daily news with their usual Burning Man-style tenacity.

Documentation efforts were continued this year as the Video Documentation team focused on interviewing select artists and capturing footage of the impressive array of art at Burning Man. This group also assisted Burning Man in capturing images of June’s Fire Arts Festival in all its flaming glory.

Our Media Team wrangled visiting members of the press, once again inviting them to go beyond merely reporting the Burning Man story by immersing themselves within it. We are pleased to note an interest in deeper coverage of the event’s subtleties, increasing the chances that the outside world can get a closer look at what it means to truly participate in Burning Man. In 2004, an on-playa press conference maximized reporters’ ability to get the information they needed from the right source. Plus, the Black Rock Gazette, Documentation, and Media teams were joined by the new Census team’s structure, making for a lively and active Media Mecca camp.

Year round, the Media team remained vigilant in working with our Legal Team to protect our community’s rights and Burning Man’s trademarks and copyrighted works. The Legal Team also kept very busy with political and civil rights research to better protect Burning Man participants.

As has been the case for years, the Regional Network maintained its amazing trajectory in 2004, as more and more participants became involved with their local communities and found new ways to bring Burning Man home. The exciting launch of the Regional Network (link) in March formalized the relationship between Burning Man and its many regionals, and the increasingly intimate relationship between our organization and these communities provided a perfect environment for exploring new ideas together. For the first time, the Regional Network had an on-playa presence for participants at its Regional Information Center, a new location in Center Camp to plug into local communities.

From the regular updates from the Jack Rabbit Speaks to the behind-the-scenes Legal planning all the way to your local Burning Man regional group, enthusiastic communicators have found their niche helping to give a voice to the many facets of the Burning Man Community.

Submitted by
Andie Grace