The Power of the Blog
That project didn't last long, but Barrie found inspiration for a new kind of blog when he returned to Ann Arbor, his hometown, as a grad student in the U-M School of Natural Resources and Environment. Back home, Barrie says he found himself "shining a lot of light" onto goings-on in Ann Arbor, giving friends advice on restaurants, events, and other activities. Barrie says he realized there was a niche to be filled, particularly for younger audiences. "There's like 40,000 students here, and AnnArbor.com doesn't ignore them, but it hasn't found how to engage them in the conversation," Barrie says. "So one of the reasons I started it was just the lack of a good resource."
Barrie launched DamnArbor.com in 2010, along with friends Ben Houston, Quinn Davis, Erika Jost, and Gautam Hans. The contributors function something like a traditional news team, making multiple short daily posts. They keep an eye on small-scale goings-on around town, pointing out new graffiti and campus amenities, promoting under-the-radar events, and providing man-on-the-street photo reports on fast-developing situations like accidents or demonstrations.