When I first met Bryant Griffin, it was in the newsroom at a Tampa Tribune bureau office. I was the editor of one of the Tribune's weekly community papers, and Bryant was a page designer who was very quiet, and unhappy about the fact our newsroom used PCs instead of Macs.
The person who introduced us convinced me we'd get along great, considering we both had a liking to science-fiction. But Bryant, busy in whatever work he was doing, shook hands politely, and then turned back to his work. I never imagined that a decade later, we'd be looking back at 10 years of working together on this little project we now call Airlock Alpha (as well as our sister site, Rabid Doll.
On Wednesday, the two of us board a plane for San Diego (and yes, I checked this time, and we're not flying into Carlsbad) to once again make our mark at San Diego Comic-Con. This is my fifth journey to the Super Bowl of conventions, while it's Bryant's fourth. But it has become an annual event for the two of us, one that this year is sponsored exclusively by our friends at Roddenberry.com.
While we're there, I will also get a chance to visit with the creative director behind all the sites, Shane Churchman. He lives in the San Diego area, and like Bryant, he also is celebrating the 10th anniversary of his first involvement with Airlock Alpha and the rest of the network (before there even was a network).
And when we get together, to catch up, to laugh, to complain, to synch our cell phones, I will once again be amazed how a simple website could bring together three people who would've never known each other otherwise -- and how lucky I am to have them.
I mean, this is a volunteer effort. Bryant and Shane do all of this out of pure love. When you are enjoying the design of Airlock Alpha, the navigation, the technical side -- this is all Shane's doing. He spent hours and hours putting it together, with his only payment being a pat on the back when I think of it.
Bryant created the logo for SyFy Portal, our former brand name, that we used right up to the second I signed on the dotted line and sold the brand to NBC Universal in 2009. He designed many of our sites in the early part of the decade, and then moved his way over to straight-up reporting, working as the editor for our horror site Rabid Doll for the last few years.
What have I done? I've written stories. I do an occasional podcast. I try to be an ambassador to the site. But I can say there would be no Airlock Alpha, to Rabid Doll, no Inside Blip if these two didn't answer my call for help in moving the site forward.
We are not the biggest site on the Internet, nor did we ever intend to be. We don't publish the most stories, and we might not be out there patting ourselves on the back because of our ability to step on others. We have always maintained complete journalistic integrity, and published the stories we feel our readers want to read, and not just give them fill so they can pass the time. Sometimes we break a story, many times we don't. But either way, you can come to our sites and get the news you need.
And we do this because we're fans. Just like you. It's not a power trip. It's not a chance to say "look at me!" Because I end up jumping up and down to get attention, many people think these sites are all just me. But they're not. We have a great staff of writers, and a tremendous group of creative people that make the site work. In the coming weeks, we'll be beefing up our writing staff once again, and continue our push to be your first stop for entertainment news on the Web.
It's great because Bryant, Shane and I don't always agree. But then again, we don't need to. Three diverse personalities -- it's almost like the dynamics found in Kirk, Spock and McCoy. The sad part is, none of us can agree who is who in that, although with the weight I've been putting on, I'm looking more like Kirk every day.
Sometimes I use this column to talk about things that interest me more than they might interest you. And maybe this is one of them. But you are reading this because of the hard work of many people, especially Bryant Griffin and Shane Churchman who, a decade later, are still here. And that means the world to me.
Thank you, Bryant and Shane, for 10 years. So what are we going to do for the next 10?
In the photo, it's Shane Churchman, Michael Hinman and Bryant Griffin at San Diego Comic-Con in 2009.
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