By: Charles Bowen
Coming Attractions For Your Next Vacation Package
To get started, visit the site at http://www.whatsgoingon.com
Only a newspaper editor would start thinking about vacations and
travel in the dark, dead heart of winter. But then, we are
creatures who live not only in the present moment but also in the
moment of several months hence. If we were not meant to live
thus, why would there be planning meetings?
But, of course, there’s a problem with trying to plan all those
great spring feature stories and columns right now. The rest of
the world is still rather grouchy on the subject of travel. It is
to them, after all, still a time for hibernation.
Fortunately, on the Web, it can be any season you want it to be.
Your fellow Netizens are ready to talk travel whenever you need
to, and a clever, lively, new events site can help your travel-
story planning with subjects here and overseas. It doesn’t hurt
that it’s also a fun site to surf, a resource you can share with
your readers. Or if you’re feeling a little grouchy yourself,
keep it a secret, and let them think you’re some kind of global
WhatsGoingOn.com is a site that features original articles and
reviews on destinations, events, and festivals, from routine
arts-and-crafts fairs and car shows to happenings that are a
little more exotic: balloon races in Paris; pumpkin-tossing in
Delaware; robot-fighting in Nevada. You can use the site to check
out the featured coming attractions, search by date and state or
by country, and peruse lists of raves and rants, things to do,
and assorted top 10s.
To get started, visit the site at http://www.whatsgoingon.com,
where its introductory page is topped with today’s featured
destination, an event usually coming a month or more in the
future. Next month’s Mardi Gras was recently featured.
Click on the link for details, or scroll the page for other
featured “big trips.” Most journalists will want to head right
for the “Events Search” section, located in the upper left-hand
corner of the main screen. Click “U.S.A.” to reach a screen that
invites you to search the database in any of three ways:
City/State. Drop-down menus let you select a state. You also
can enter a city name and/or select from the “When” menu,
searching for events coming up any time from the next seven days
to the next 75 days.
Category. From the “Where” list, select a region (New England,
South Central, Pacific, etc.). From the “What” list, choose a
topic (gardening, music, children, sports, and so on).
Optionally, there’s also the same “When” list mentioned above.
Keyword. Enter a word or phrase that appears in the event’s
name or description, such as “jazz” to find jazz festivals.
Select any of the search options, fill in all or some of the data
boxes, and click its corresponding “Search” button. The site then
summarizes events it found matching your query, with hyperlinks
you can click for more details.
Each event also displays several edgy icons that are explained on
the results page. Meanings of individual icons include subjects
such as “celebrity potential,” “gluttony,” “grandma approved,”
“can see it on TV,” and “potential to see blood.”
Other ways to use the site in your work:
o The site’s editor in chief is Dave Freeman, who collaborated
with Neil Teplica and Jennifer Coonce on a travel writer’s must-
have book called, “100 Things to Do Before You Die.” The list,
with corresponding articles, is divided into regions of the world
(U.S. and Canada, Latin America, Europe, Africa and the Mideast,
Asia and the Pacific) and can be reached by clicking the “100
Things to Do” icon on any of the site’s screens.
o The “Top 10 Lists” icon on any site page provides a collection
of monthly and seasonal destinations, such as “the 10 best road
trips of the month,” “the 10 best New Year’s Eve events in the
U.S.” and so on.
o Use the site’s “Archives” link not only to get recent
collections of monthly “great trip” reports but also travel ideas
organized by region.
Bowen writes columns, articles and books from West Virginia, and is host of the daily Internet News syndicated radio show (http://www.netnewstoday.com).
Copyright 2001, Editor & Publisher