Read This Before You Start Your Fort Wayne Events and Happenings Website by Andy Welfle

If there is one recurring, consistent theme in the way I read and look at the web in the past ten years, it’s that I love reading blogs. It’s the best, most flexible method of creating content online — long-form or short-form, memoir or reporting, the now-familiar refreshing-content-in-a-linear-stream-filterable-by-category format of a fairly traditional blog is one of my favorite ways to read on a screen.

I’ve even made a career out of it: I am a content strategist at a web development company. One of my jobs is to help our clients figure out the best way they can create content on their their website to accomplish their goals. More often than not, that includes posting regularly to a blog.

But I’ve noticed a trend in the past five years, as blogging becomes more and more prevalent in Fort Wayne’s zeitgeist (several years later than in many other places, I might add). There is an unusually high number of people who want to start a blog covering events and happenings around Fort Wayne.

With some slight variations, the following conversation has literally happened to me three or four times in the past five years:

WELL-INTENTIONED GUY WHO WANTS TO START A WEBSITE: I have this great idea for a website. You know how people never know what’s going on in Fort Wayne?

ME: Yes…

GUY: What if we had a website that was sort of a central hub for events, reviews, and cool stuff? We could call it We could get companies to submit their events to us and volunteers to write reviews and stories! We can be the central hub of what’s going on in Fort Wayne!

ME: [points to two other people sitting in the Dash-In] That’s a great idea! See that guy? And that lady? They’re doing the same thing! You should talk to them.

GUY: Oh, no. They are actually [explains their niche]. What I want to do is [basically explains the same thing, only with a slightly different angle].

ME: Sigh.

Everyone has their own niches, but it all greatly overlaps. Some are for visitors to Fort Wayne. Some are for those looking to move to Fort Wayne. Some are for residents. Some are for those looking to buy a house. Some are for millennials.

These niches look good on an advertising rate sheet, but on a Venn diagram of potential readers, there’s a whole lot of overlapping.

That word, “hub,” keeps coming up. They want their site to be the central hub for Fort Wayne events.

But what happens when everyone tried to be a central hub?

No one is.

Therein lies a problem I see over and over in this community: massive duplication — but half-assed follow-through — of effort. There’s a large entrepreneurial streak that runs through the downtown progressives, which is awesome. But everyone is short on money, time, or experience, especially when it comes to running a website like this.

I totally count myself among this number, by the way — with two or three failed media initiatives under my belt, I’m a poster child for false starts. But one thing that I’ve tried to do is to point my creative direction in a way that hasn’t been done before, or isn’t being done currently.

So, in order to not just be part of the problem and to try to suggest a solution, I offer four points for those who want to start the next

Point One: Collaborate If Possible

This is the most important part. Figure out what the other sites are doing. Is there overlap? Can you join forces and help them improve their already existing product? (One great website is way better than two mediocre sites, after all.)

No? Well, okay then.

Yes? Great! The site will be all the stronger for it.

Point Two: Focus on Quality and Originality

All of our local events and happenings hub blogs have rounded up the usual suspects to cover. We’ve had a LOT of reviews of the Pint & Slice and profiles of Matt Kelley (I both love the Pint and have tremendous admiration and respect for Matt, obviously).

Let’s look beyond the usual suspects. That old breakfast place on Maplecrest that’s been there for years but you’ve never heard a thing about? Or what about that interesting guy who owns the liquor store that always has a really unusual selection of wines?

I think it’s time for some interesting, thought provoking features that require research, investigation, interviews and interesting writing. Show up the other publications in town, print and online alike. Don’t just be a content farm; commoditized fillers for which to wrap ads.

And in order to do this:

Point Three: Pay Your Contributors More and Hold Them to a Higher Standard

We have a lot of good freelancers in town. A lot of them write for multiple instances of blogs. I should know — I was one of them. And because I was so busy and stretched so thin, I was great a whipping out a who/what/where blog post about something, grab a courtesy photo and BAM. $25 and a byline.

Everyone should be paying their writers and photographers, and if you already are, get rid of the bad and mediocre ones, pay the good ones more, and expect better from them.

Point Four: Update Regularly

I’ve noticed a lot of the flash-in-the-pan sites have had a recurring theme (except for uninspired editorial and an out-of-the-box Wordpress theme): they just couldn’t figure out how to keep readers coming back. You’ll visit the site, and the front page is filled with posts about stuff that happened months ago.

So many people will post a flurry of articles, stay dormant for six months, and then wonder where their traffic went and how they’re going to justify their advertising income in the next billing cycle.

I know I just got done telling you that you should post less but with better quality. It doesn’t really matter how often you post, as long as you stick to it. That’s how you build readers. Not by trying to hold a flashmob on the courthouse green in hopes your video will “go viral.” Not through be-hashed vapid tweets like:

Want to #know what #local #music we’re listening to over at today? Come #CheckItOut!

It’s through regular updates of consistently good content that builds readers and subscribers. Unsexy, I know. But it’s a proven method.

No doubt this will be read by the editors of and, and they’ll feel targeted by my negativity. I know they work really, really hard on this marketing vertical.

It may not look like it, but I really want you to succeed, guys. I want you to be our version of or I want a central hub where I can go to see what’s happening in Fort Wayne.

But most of all, I want a place to find really good content. I mean, really good.

Who is going to stand up and deliver?

Back to (260) Issue One.

love, fort wayne by danee pye

It is not our differences that divide us.
It is our inability to recognize, accept,
and celebrate those differences.

- Audre Lorde

I am a city that exists in a state that ranks as the 8th worst state to grow up in
if you happen to be African-American.

I am a city that exists in a state that ranks as the 12th best state to grow up in
if you happen to be white.

Will you just let that sink in for a minute?  I’ll wait.

I’ve got time.

It’s not like I’m progressing very quickly.

Sometimes it feels like time stands still here.

And sometimes it feels like time moves backwards here.

I mean, I am a city that exists in a state where many have fought hard to ban marriage rights.

And, I am a city that exists in a state where the lack of diversity in certain circles is so commonplace that it’s no longer noticed.

I am a city that needs to start noticing.

I am a city that needs more recognition, acceptance, and celebration of difference, but lately all I see is celebration.

Take a look at who is celebrating.

Now, tell me… where’s the difference?

The difference is not recognized. The difference is not accepted.
The celebration is a dream.

I am a city with no room for dreams.

It’s time to wake up.

This is not the best I can do.

love, fort wayne.

Toward a Fort Wayne School of Fiction by Elliott Berdan

"I am not telling you to write about Fort Wayne because it is interesting, but because it is our home. And you must first write about your home before you write about anything else," he said.

"I write about Fort Wayne because I am from Fort Wayne, and in every sound I can feel something of that place echoing in mind. It is defining in a way that few other characteristics can be, and for that alone we must begin to declare a new style of writing, marked by the land as if it were a map onto itself."

"I lived in Fort Wayne during a very important time in my young life when I was still red-hot in the fire and capable of being formed. It was there that I first fell in love and then back out of it. It was there I dreamed of incredible things."

He paused before continuing.

"It was there I first learned of disappointment and what we might call 'realistic expectations,'" he said. "Sewn into my heart is the pervasive need to settle, the near-constant scourge of the Midwestern mentality that chokes off aspiration in favor of what is easy," he said.

"I write Fort Wayne in a minor key because that is the city I remember. I write Fort Wayne in desperate tones, unable to recognize in itself the incredible beauty and history of the land. It is always searching to keep up with some trend that wouldn't matter, if only we could keep our view of space and time on a geologic scale," he said.

"And I write this story so that other people will take up in the Fort Wayne school of fiction and disagree with me, maybe write something with a bit of humor in it," he said, smiling. "I'm just here to hold the place until the real ones come along and show us what they hear, what they see in this place we share."

"I will finish this story," he said, "I will finish Anthropolowhat. And then I will write something else. But this story is first and this story is the most important. This story is to remember, to understand, and to apologize."

"Apologize for what?" she asked.

"The over-indulgence of writing our own histories," he said. "And because I will not forgive you if you do not do the same."

Elliott Berdan lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He writes at, where this was initially published.

Back to (260) Issue One.

First Strike by pye,brown

This piece is part of (260) Issue One: First Strike, available at


When we moved to Fort Wayne in 2011, we spent our last night in Austin boxing everything we owned and throwing it into a U-Haul by ourselves. We rented a house in West Central and the morning after brown pulled the moving truck into the driveway, there were eight people there to help us unload. 

It’s easy to fall for a city like that. 

And when we first fell in love with this city, it was all fireworks from Parkview Field, hot dogs from Bravas, bike rides on the trails, and even a love song by Nyzzy Nyce. But there’s always more to a relationship than the Instagram photos showing how perfect everything is. 

Fort Wayne isn’t perfect, and it’s just plain crazy to pretend that it is. 

The better move, the more loving move (in our opinion), is to take a critical look at this place we call home, to look around and see it for what it is, and see how we can make it better. That’s what this issue is all about. 

First Strike is a call for a better Fort Wayne. It includes an appeal to reform the redundant Fort Wayne events websites, a call for a Fort Wayne School of Fiction, a nod to the superficial nature of “We love Fort Wayne” movements, and a critique of the hegemonic local arts community. 

Critical? For sure. Pessimistic? Not in the least. 

We’re just not willing to waste one more moment pretending this city is something it’s not. We’ve only got a limited supply of moments, and another one just passed us by.

“Historicism contents itself with establishing a causal connection between various moments in history. But no fact that is a cause is for that very reason historical. 

It became historical posthumously, as it were, through events that may be separated from it by thousands of years. A historian who takes this as his point of departure stops telling the sequence of events like the beads of a rosary. Instead, he grasps the constellation which his own era has formed with a definite earlier one. 

Thus he establishes a conception of the present as the ‘time of the now’ which is shot through with chips of Messianic time.”  

- Walter Benjamin

That’s mid-century German scholar for: “nobody knows how people of the future will view this little blip of time-space, so why not view it as that moment in time that makes all the difference in the world?” 

When we asked Elliot Berdan about including a piece from Anthropolowhat in this issue, his response included the following: 

“It’s safe to say that I’ve been thinking very, very deeply about the land and my relationship to it for the better part of six or seven years. Thematically, the land is just so terribly important to my writing. When I think of Fort Wayne, I think of loneliness and I think of being awake at night. That is not everyone’s experience, and so I look forward to further illumination from other people. 

“What we need is a call to arms among writers and creators to talk about the city, to understand the city. I’ve been reading up on quantum physics recently, and there’s much to be said about understanding a particle in relationship to the whole.” 

And people have been talking about the particles lately, and for good reason. Fort Wayne’s particles look great: they have bright colors and well-chosen fonts, they come in great flavors and pretty packaging, they have music beds that sound like your favorite indie band and a shallow depth of field that makes everything seem perfectly surreal.

We’re making (260) because there’s definitely more to this part of the world than the current marketing would suggest. While (260) is not an uncritical embracing of the status quo, it’s not merely complaining either. We’d describe it as “aggressively optimistic.” Yes, we are optimistic about the potential of this city and our collective ability to achieve change, but... 

“Change means movement. Movement means friction. Only in the frictionless vacuum of a nonexistent abstract world can movement or change occur without that abrasive friction of conflict.” 


So, maybe think of it as punk-rock-optimism - irreverent and grounded in a DIY ethos. Ain’t nobody else gonna come and make this world what we want it to be. 

We’ve got to do it ourselves, and we’ve got to start where we are, and we don’t need fancy cameras, grants, or a building to do it. (260) is not about looking to the coasts to learn how to be cool or creative or happy or rich, (260) is about doing what we can with what we’ve got right here, right now. It’s about looking for places we can improve, calling out bullshit when we see it, and celebrating the things that are genuinely awesome. 

Welcome to our First Strike.