In the early 1980s just when “MTV” hit the air, Old Towne Orange Plaza Review founder and publisher Mike Escobedo landed a job with Times Mirror Videotex, a precursor to today’s Internet. Though the project ceased after three years due to the American public not yet owning personal computers on a widespread basis nor being ready for the online world, those early lessons stayed with Escobedo. It is fitting, then, that he has come full circle with the new OrangeReview.com website, which fully launched earlier this year.
“Since I started the print version of the Plaza Review in 2001 with the intention of making it the hub for all things Old Towne and Orange, I’d always planned on creating an online version,” says Escobedo, a graphic designer, who has spent more than 30 years in advertising communications. “All of the pieces of the puzzle slid into place over the last year, and we now have an online accompaniment to our already vibrant print publication. The website is a logical offshoot that has forged a synergistic partnership with the print edition–giving the community a comprehensive, easy–to–use online tool.”
While the bi–monthly print version does an excellent job of informing readers of the changes and amenities of life in Old Towne, the website allows Escobedo and his associates, including web developer Tyler Colby, to keep a 24/7 finger on the pulse of the community. The website’s “What’s Happening” Calendar is updated on a daily basis, giving residents and individuals from other communities current news on what’s going on in and around Orange. Besides containing content from the printed version–including page–turning and digital versions of 2010 and 2011 issues with links–the website features all–new articles and the latest press releases.
OrangeReview.com also encourages effective advertiser interaction. Advertisers are known as Community Sponsors on the website, and their advertisements all link to their respective company websites, giving the reader ready access to each vendor’s products and services. New ways to encourage advertiser interaction are also in the works, as well as an entire archive of the Plaza Review since its inception.
Escobedo’s ties to Old Towne date back to 1989 when he moved his office into the Plaza. At the time, the area had a sleepy atmosphere with a heavy emphasis on antiques. Escobedo worked quietly for the next 10 years designing advertising materials for various clients, including the fast–food industry, for which he created printed promotional pieces such as point–of–purchase displays and kid’s meal bags.
One afternoon in the late 1990s, Cheryl Turner, who currently owns and operates the Plaza’s Paris in a Cup Tea Salon, came into Escobedo’s office and asked if he promoted local businesses. “At that point in the late 1990s, I began meeting and creating advertising for the various merchants,” says Escobedo. “As I did so, and the Plaza evolved, I saw a need for a publication about the community, so the Old Towne Orange Plaza Review was born.” Since that time, the publication has continued to grow with the Plaza–with the newest addition being Escobedo’s long–anticipated website.
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Select to view Sep/Oct 2011 "Reviewing the Plaza for 10 Years" article.