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The Valley really is the smallest “big city” of all time.

Get this: For the past several years, I have not only been pitching the Foothills Focus, which is a popular weekly newspaper covering all things in Anthem, Black Canyon City, Carefree, Cave Creek, Desert Hills, New River, north Phoenix and north Scottsdale, on a weekly basis for various clients living and working up there; but as a north Phoenix resident, I have been reading it on a weekly basis, too.

Thanks to the power of Facebook, the managing editor – Marc Buckhout – reached out to me in response to a recent pitch with a funny reply: “Hey, how do you know Shana and Mark Schwarz?”

Since I was in work mode, it took me a second to process this – as well as to remember the faceless person on the other side of the email was an actual human with interests and friends and other things to do then ogle my story pitches all day.

“Actually, I have known Mark since middle school – and Shana since high school. How the heck do you know my friends?” I responded, confused at my professional and personal worlds colliding.

Turns out, this small “big city” has a fantastic kickball association (for which Mark was a superstar starter and Shana was a digital marketer for as well as a player), and Marc played with them.

Just like that – faceless editor goes to Facebook friend. I love this “big city.”

Each Monday, we are posting a blog to help our readers get to know the media just a little bit better. We call them our #MediaMondays. It is only fitting that my new friend be profiled.


Marc: What do you want to tell the blogosphere about yourself today?

Jack of all trades, master of none.

In August, I’ll have been a member of the print journalism fraternity for 14 years. It’s a club I’m proud to be a part of because I respect the effort, the ingenuity and the talent it takes to talk to people from all walks of life and share their stories. I think reporters take seriously the responsibility of getting stories right and in doing so providing a service to readers.

When I started as a sports reporter right out of college in 1999, I had no idea what our industry would become. From being strictly a reporter at the start I’ve spent time as a copy editor, page designer, then was put in charge of updating our website devoted to prep sports. I spent my final four years as the sport editor of two of our weekly publications.

After eight years covering prep sports I took on a much broader roll when I accepted the position of managing editor at The Foothills Focus.

I had some concerns about whether I would enjoy covering topics outside the world of sports, but discovered that as long as you’re dealing with people that are passionate about their corner of the world, it’s fairly easy to be intrigued enough to write about nearly any topic.

At The Foothills Focus, which covers the north Valley, including Anthem, New River, Cave Creek, Carefree, north Scottsdale, north Phoenix, Tramonto, Desert Hills and Black Canyon City, we focus our coverage on the local schools, government, businesses, police and fire, arts, theater, music and prep sports in the area.

Aside from being the lone reporter for the publication, I’ve had the opportunity to develop my photography skills during the last nearly five years and have found a real passion in that area.

Along with producing a paper with a circulation of 25,000 each week, we supplement our coverage in the printed edition with more timely news through our website and our Facebook Fan Page. The never-ending search for ways to connect with readers also led us to the following: Foothills Focus You Tube Page, Foothills Focus Twitter Page.

Fun fact – In 2012, I spent a year working for Northern Arizona University as the sideline reporter for Lumberjacks sporting events broadcast on Fox Sports Arizona. I worked all the home football games, as well as weekend volleyball, soccer and basketball games, interviewing coaches, players, as well as handling the halftime shows and offered insight on the action throughout the broadcasts.

I’m always looking for good local stories whether it’s previewing upcoming events or featuring interesting people in the North Valley. The best way to reach me is either at (602) 391-5362 or by email at ffeditorial@hotmail.com.

photo courtesy of Marc Buckhout

Alison Bailin
Alison Bailin
Senior Account Executive Alison has a lot to say…about pretty much everything...all the time. From the current state of public relations to the social media impact on Shark Week to crisis communications in the sports world, Alison’s blogs are focused on “amusing through her PR musings,” and then some. Check out Alison's full bio


  1. Scott Hanson says:

    I’ve spent a little bit of time on those sidelines, as well!

  2. Alison Bailin says:

    Okay, now I MUST get Foothills Focus TV up to a summer Boys & Girls Club event now! Thinking Thunderbird and Vestar branches are right up his alley!

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