The Burning Man Communications team enjoyed a relatively benign 2008, especially when compared to the challenges faced during the 2007 event. The crew continued the year-round activities involved in talking about Burning Man to both participants and the “outside world” through publications, newsletters, websites, blogs and other media.
The web team continued to enjoy the invaluable support of talented volunteers who help maintain the Burningman.com website year round. In 2008, they revamped the Regionals section of the website to reflect our global reach, and consolidated Burning Man’s myriad blogs into a single Burning Blog with a selection of topic categories. Throughout the year, the team kept Burningman.com up to date with fresh information on a timely basis.
The Print Production team had a great year as well, creating and publishing the annual Survival Guide, Burning Man Wall Calendar, event tickets and more. Their big effort for 2008 was the much-heralded overhauling of the What Where When guide, the dense publication which lists playa events happening in Black Rock City.
The Regional Network was incredibly busy and grew steadily in 2008, with 31 new Regional Contacts, bringing the Network to a total of 161 people in 102 locations. The Regional Committee, which supports this group, added more members to keep pace with this growth. Our Regional Contacts benefited greatly from our second annual — and highly successful — Regional Leadership Summit in February of 2008.
Additionally, new on-playa and off-playa initiatives were launched to coordinate the efforts and expand public awareness of the various arms of Burning Man’s Outreach Network, including the Regional Network, the Black Rock Arts Foundation, Burners Without Borders and Black Rock Solar. The activities of these spin-off organizations are crucial to the Burning Man mission, and the more their efforts are coordinated, the more effective they can all be. This was evidenced on playa in “Everywhere Lane”, a stretch of the Esplanade where these groups presented their message to and interacted with interested Burning Man participants.
And as the national and international media continued its intense interest in Burning Man, the Media Team stepped up its efforts to support them, and to ensure that their projects would offer a unique and interesting perspective on the event. This hard-working team was expanded in 2008 to include a new Volunteer Coordinator and 20 new Media Wranglers … and the fruits of their labor can ultimately be seen on Burning Man’s media coverage page.