Monday, November 26, 2018

Eleven Years of Reporting

By Bixyl Shuftan

It was about eleven years ago that yours truly got his start as a reporter here in Second Life. Before coming to Second Life, I had been writing a few science-fiction stories and posting them on a personal website. They got some reads, and a little fanart. But by 2007, I felt it was time for a break, so put that on pause. In the meantime, I had taken an interest in Second Life, and that year started logging in on a regular basis. Wanting to know more about this virtual world, I began looking up websites and blogs. I eventually came across a few newsletters, the one getting my attention the most being "Second Life Newspaper." It was owned by JamesT Juno and run by Dana Vanmoer. After a while, I came across an invitation for it's readers to send in "reader submitted" articles. So I wrote a few and sent them in. James and Dana were impressed, and invited me for a job interview. After several minutes of talking, I got the job.

Although I wasn't always sure what would make for a good subject in the first few weeks, I soon got the hang of things. I would write about a variety of subjects about the people, places, and events of Second Life. While occasionally my stories were a bit on the sensational side, such as writing about "Zig Zag" and her adult media company, more often than not, they were about how Second Life sometimes mirrored real life, such as the 2008 Presidential Election, people doing good things in Second Life, notably the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Relay for Life, the various things people made here, or people just having fun such as the games and virtual pets. And of course I was part of a great time, some who would become my friends.

In Spring 2010, James and Dana were having to deal with real life situations that would not go away, and made the decision to close the Second Life Newspaper. Four of us, Gemma Cleanslate, Grey Lupindo, Shellie Sands, and I made the decision to start a new paper with me as the leader. And so my role changed from just another writer to the head of the team. Over the years, the team has seen people come and go, such as DrFran, Zymbers Slade, Grease Coakes, Majik, and others. But the team remains, with Gemma and I still writing stories.

As Second Life has changed, I've written about new places, things, and people here, such as the development of mesh and Bento. I've written about other virtual worlds, such as InWorldz. And as my friends here also play games outside Second Life, I've written about those as well, such as Minecraft, World of Warcraft, and more. But the main focus continues to be this virtual world. I'm able to write one, two or three larger stories each week, plus briefs for the front page about Linden blog announcements and other breaking news.

So now what? For one, I plan on continuing what I've been doing all along. But I also have something else going on. Before getting into journalism, I wrote a few fictional stories, some short and some long. And recently I've started up on another science-fiction novel, "The Corsean Encounter." This is the story of two men as they end up on an alien world that in some ways is quite familiar, in others very different, in a pivotal moment in it's history, and the decisions they and their friends and enemies make will affect the world for generations to come. As of now, it's slightly less than halfway done. The Newser keeps me busy.

Eleven years later, much has changed. But the primary objective remains the same, getting the word out about the people, places, and events, of Second Life.

"And that's the way it is."

Bixyl Shuftan


  1. I enjoy reading your blog posts daily and I have been a big fan of SL Newser for many years.

  2. you impressed me and still do
    thank you a bunch for all the years of support for our creative business

  3. you impressed me and still do
    thank you a bunch for all the years of support for our creative business