R.I.P. Tucsoncitizen.com and greetings to Blog for Arizona



Posted by Carolyn Classen

It was like a sudden death attack on January 31, 2014 when Gannett Publishing shut down the online Tucsoncitizen.com.  There was no warning to our paid Administrator /Sports Editor Anthony Gimino or us twenty-some bloggers/citizen journalists.  It just happened and all we got was a curt email from Jessie Menard at Gannett, with a "thank you for your participation" sentence. But we had been on “hospice care” for several months with frustrating interference from the RSS Feed, misdirecting or blocking access to the site. Complaints to Gannett were not listened to, even from our Administrator, and there was little or no tech support.

I had been one of the earliest bloggers at that alternative news source, starting up on June 18, 2009, since I had been a “My Tucson” guest columnist in 2008 for the print newspaper. The Tucson Citizen newspaper ceased publication on May 16, 2009, laying off an entire newsroom of 65 reporters and editors.

From June 2009 to January 2014 I have written over 1550 blog posts, which were “exported” to me via email from Gannett after the shut down, for me to download (somehow) to a WordPress file, within a month.  I’m not even computer savvy enough to know how to do that.

After the shut down, numerous articles were written about the demise (with some praise for me):

Arizona Daily Star

Inside Tucson Business – by former Tucsoncitizen.com Administrator Mark B. Evans, former Asst. City Editor at Tucson Citizen newspaper

Tucsonsentinel.com – by Dylan Smith, former Online Editor with Tucson Citizen newspaper:

Tucson Weekly

Arizona Daily Independent

Phoenix Business Journal

and a discussion on Bill Buckmaster’s radio show (also a Tucsoncitizen.com contributor ) on February 7, 2014, with Mark B. Evans and Dylan Smith, aforementioned.

Farewell Tucsoncitizen.com.  It was a fun and rewarding experience for over four and a half years, to be able to write with passion about a diverse number of community topics and events.  Many citizen journalists joined us and left, many stayed over this entire period of time.  I’ll miss reading their stories and contributions, and wish that Gannett had chosen to retain some of these posts online. I liked to read Ernie McCray’s reflections “From the Soul”,  Karyn Zoldan’s passionate “Tucson Tails” alerts about animals/pets, and of course Anthony Gimino’s accurate reporting about the Arizona Wildcats. Archives of earlier Tucson Citizen newspaper articles are online right now.

As for me, I’ve decided to join the “good guys (and gals)” here at the progressive blogsite Blog for Arizona. Founder/attorney Michael Bryan “made me an offer I couldn’t refuse”.  I’ll be continuing to follow the upcoming political campaigns and elections of 2014, and write about community events and groups. So I will still report on “our sense of group togetherness and community”, which is what I started up at the Tucsoncitizen.com as “Carolyn’s Community”.  Blog for Arizona here I come!

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Carolyn Classen
Carolyn Sugiyama Classen, a life long Democrat, was born & raised in the State of Hawaii, was a Legislative Aide for U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye on Capitol Hill, and practiced law for a while. In Tucson she worked as a tribal staff attorney for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and later was the Interim Executive Director of the now defunct Domestic Violence Commission. In 2008 she became a “My Tucson” guest columnist for the Tucson Citizen newspaper, then continued blogging for Tucsoncitizen.com for over four and a half years. Her blogsite was entitled “Carolyn’s Community” about community events and some political news, until Gannett Publishing shut down the site on January 31, 2014. She started with Blog for Arizona on Feb. 11, 2014. Part time she has been sitting as a Hearing Officer in Pima County Consolidated Justice Courts Small Claims Division since April, 2005. She is married to University of Arizona Distinguished Professor Albrecht Classen, a native of Germany. They have one son, who lives in Seattle, WA with his wife and daughter. She is also the Editor of the Southern Arizona Japanese Cultural Coalition website, www.southernazjapan.org (since Jan. 2013).


  1. On sabbatical for awhile. I have been a member of the California Writers Club for the past year. Over 100 years old, and the likes of Jack London as founding members. We conduct journal writing and memoir writing projects at the Federal Prison. And I assist with the Incarcerated Veteran issues. It is most rewarding. The participants of this program have the lowest recidivism rate of all the Outreach programs combined. It says alot about finding and nurturing that inner voice. I have found a mentor and incredible new pal who is guiding me through the Memoir writing process and just now utilizing a very fine book authored by Meg Files,titled, “Writing From Life.’ Meg was the head of the English Department at Pima when we met at a writers workshop sponsored by Pima College. The grace filled serendipity of this all occuring at the same time as the ambush of TC.com, is noteworthy. I suspect that most of our lives are this way when we suspend endless planning. So, some of the juice that was part of Veteran Veritas can now be channeled to the first draft of “Memoirs Of A Mediocre Man,” and a short story called “The Bells of St. Mary’s Don’t Ring Anymore,” about my experiences working for the Catholic Church. Mabye TMI here, but in an oddball way, the run with TC.com, and the ongoing dialogues with Mark Evans became the inspiration for both. Funny how things work out. Adelante! Mike

  2. Thanks Mike for the praise. You did a good job as Veterans’ Veritas as well. It was a good run for over four and a half years. I was wondering what you were going to do now. Some have quit, and others are going out on their own.

  3. I look forward to following you Carolyn. You are a true asset to the community. I am proud to have been one the original nine bloggers at TC.com and will miss your mentoring. While Veteran Veritas could have never been defined as journalism, more a billboard for veterans affairs, and advocacy in the disability claims arena and PTSD support, there were many who were helped offline and at an office we still maintain in La Placita Village. I am too old and volitionally undisciplined to continue the blogger mission. Possibly someone at your new home, or at the Sentinel, could take up the torch,as the need for advocacy is at an all time high, and the Global War On Terrorism will be with us for some time. Seya down the trail.

  4. Not sure Mike, didn’t get any other comment from you, but I hear that Blog for AZ is leaving this Typepad system for another shortly. Stay tuned, and thanks for the praise.

  5. Glad you found a good place to land! I’ll look forward to continue reading Carolyn’s Community.

    I’d love to know how to access the archive of my Telling Stories blog. I didn’t get an email from Gannett exporting them to me (and I wouldn’t know what to do with them either.) Do you know who I could contact?

  6. Welcome on board, Carolyn! Those corporate bastards at Gannett killed Tucson’s oldest newspaper a few years ago. I remember how upsetting it was for Citizen staff at the time. They have been laying off staff at the Arizona Republic in recent years as well.

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