WVIR Adds News to Website

WVIR (NBC 29) has finally returned to running local news stories on their website. Looking at the URLs for the stories, it looks like they may even archive their stories, unlike C-Ville Weekly and the Daily Progress, who delete their articles after each new issue comes out. Weirdly, WVIR has set up the site so that if you click anywhere but on the window, it will automatically close. (See “Break-in Rash” as an example.) Anyhow, they get points for effort. Once they get rid of that auto-close thing, we’ll start linking to their news.

06/06/01, 11:25am: As a post-note, the URL of “Break-in Rash” keeps changing. So it might be archived, but the moving target will make it hard to link to things. Oh, well.

12 thoughts on “WVIR Adds News to Website”

  1. Swallow this bitter pill, Waldo: The news is the news because it’s NEW! Get it? Want archives? Visit the library, order a back issue, or better yet, create a site that actually reports something original instead of whining and sucking of the local teat and create your own archives. Like it or not, the news is a business, and not a healthy one at that— especially in print— if you’ve done any research at all (wake-up call: the media world did not begin with websites). Enterprises like yours want it all for free— without the vision, effort, or cash flow. But that would fall under the category of “old school” to you, I suppose. As it stands cvillenews.com is just a link to news sites with your spin. Leave it at that, or step up to the plate. C-VILLE deletes its files from week to week because it is in the business of printing (also, apparently, an “old school” technique of reaching the masses, but one many have found quite feasible) a unique perspective of the news, such as it is, for free, weekly, to as many people as possible. That’s the business— and as much as I hate to give props to the DP, I am in complete agreement with them (whether they do it intentionally or not). Newspapers— and, I’m told many websites— actually employ people to do this! Novel concept, eh? We love the net and the web— but, fortunately, we already give the paper away (and have our own site, thank you very much), so buy a back issue for a lousy buck if you’re that interested and stop lamenting that the world doesn’t come begging to provide your site with content. I may be part of the “old school” crowd, but it seems to me that the web is increasingly just another tool for disseminating day-late, dollar-short stories, often with skewed, sophomoric viewpoints such as yours. Any way you cut it, to feed off legitimate news-gathering organizations, reprint stories wholesale without permission— much less add one’s own opinion— and complain about lack of access to archives reveals more about the (increasingly annoying: see the stock market) site administrator’s ethics, values, and business sense than anything else. Stick to supplying the world with information about the Dave Matthews Band’s setlists and you’ll be much more appreciated. Otherwise, pay your dues in the real world and then dot-comment.

    Bill Ramsey


  2. A few responses to your points, Bill:

    1. We don’t “reprint stories wholesale without permission.” Ever. And we never will. We link to the original source, when possible, or else we simply say “hey, it was on 29 news.”
    2. cvillenews.com exists for two reasons, one of these being to get people to read the sites of local news outlets. Very few locals are interested in hitting half a dozen websites every day (or week, in the case of C-Ville and, hopefully, The Observer eventually), but if they can hit one and follow links to the stories, that’s potentially a big benefit to local news websites, in terms of traffic.
    3. We can’t create our own archives. As you point out, this would involve reprinting “stories wholesale without permission.”
    4. Archiving news digitally in a publicly-accessible manner is a goal that pretty much every publication has, and I don’t think that we’ll see that changing anytime soon. It makes for an excellent resource a few months or years down the line, especially when you get that “haven’t we done this before?” feeling. More important, it’s really easy to do. That was why I sat down with you and Hawes and Chris and explained how you could go about doing so. I mean, you can’t say I’m not trying on this front. In any case, archiving nerws only means that traffic can continue to flow to that story well into the future. It’s only to the benefit of the publication. It doesn’t do a bit of good to me.
    5. You point out that many websites provide “skewed, sophomoric viewpoints such as [mine].” Sure, and many newspapers do the same thing. The medium has nothing to do with the quality of the message. Perhaps more important, the second driving idea behind cvillenews.com is that everybody gets to toss in their $0.02. If you think that my viers are “skewed” or “sophmoric,” you get to reply and say that they are. Plenty of folks have accused C-Ville Weekly of being “skewed” and “sophmoric.” But newspapers are a one-way medium. Somebody could write a letter to a paper, but you get to choose whether or not it runs. There’s no method of responding to stories on WVIR. Here, anybody is free to explain what makes a view good or bad, helpful or harmful. That’s pretty empowering.

    I think that a lot of print media folks are running scared from the web as the big dot-coms die off, and the bloggers take over. When Joe Average has a voice (read as: anybody in Charlottesville that has a beef with something in the paper), there’s no way that most people in print are going to be comfortable with that. I just can’t see Media General being happy with the idea that somebody can post a critical reply to one of their stories, without going through any filter, and over a thousand people can read that reply over the next few days.

    My overall thesis here is simple, I suppose: if you don’t like it, change it. This is a community site. If you think that the responses are sophmoric, then you can reply with better ones, as you’ve done today. If you think that the news is old and irrelevant, then you can post something newer and more useful. I would like nothing more than to have my own opinions here drowned out by the chatter of dozens or hundreds of regular users. I congratulate you on your above posting: you’ve taken the first step. :)


  3. I am going to assume that Bill Ramsey has had issues with Waldo before or else he just really can’t hack he concept of even more competition. If he can’t see the difference between cvillenews.com and the traditional news outlets in this area – then he may need to question why he has chosen to even work in the media business.

    Anyway….the NBC29 thing is great but it would be helpful if the news items had dates on them. Guess we should assume that anything listed on recent news was aired the previous night??

    Thanks –


  4. Anyway….the NBC29 thing is great but it would be helpful if the news items had dates on them. Guess we should assume that anything listed on recent news was aired the previous night??

    I guess so. I know it’s only a matter of time until I post a story from their site as “new” and somebody will point out that it’s a week old. :) Despite my kvetching, I really am quite happy that they’re running news on their site again. (They last did so something like a year ago, IIRC.)


  5. Wow, it sounds like someone has a very large bug (read: something the size of a Hercules Beetle) up their ass when it comes to this site. I think it’s rather amusing that Bill utilized the main thing that makes cvillenews.com different from the C-Ville to air his opinion: the comments area.

    To address Bill’s point, it strikes me as rather short-sighted of the C-Ville to delete their articles from their site just to make people buy back-issues. I know that unless an article regards something really important (hasn’t happened yet), I’m not going to shell out the $5 to get a back-issue, and I suspect that the same is true of most C-Ville readers. If the articles were online, however, I could still find what I otherwise wouldn’t get at all. They’re not losing any money by doing that, and they’re only helping people out. And heck, then the C-Ville wouldn’t have to expend the effort of deleting articles from their site.

    I’ve always been glad to forgive the C-Ville for their occasional pretentiousness and some of the stupid things that they do, because everyone does that. But when the paper makes it so blatantly clear that it’s totally willing to be a complete jerk towards competitors that aren’t even competition (cvillenews.com and the C-Ville are entirely different beasts, but Bill sure seems to think that this site is competition), it makes me even more hesitant to pick up a copy of next week’s C-Ville, and I know that I’m not the only one. It’s too bad that Bill seems to have lost sight of the purpose of his publication and is instead trying to debase other local news sources.

  6. soph-o-mor-ic 1. of or pertaining to a sophomore or sophmores. 2. intellectually pretentious; immature (see Cville Weekly)

  7. Better watch out, Waldo. Next issue of the Cville will probably have a column dedicated to tearing down cvillenews.com–as they’ve done with Working Weekly, as they’ve done with the Daily Progress, as they’ve done with the Observer.

    The Cville’s reputation as a whiny, pretentious Big Fish In Little Pond is deserved. Especially when representatives like Ramsey post inane comments like the one above. I guess they’re still trying to regain their groove since Dave Matthews skipped town.

  8. I have no idea who posted this, but – frankly – it’s offtopic and meaningless. “Waldo’s mini-empire?”

    Can we please get back to discussing the news, now?

  9. C-VILLE deletes its files from week to week because it is in the business of printing (also, apparently, an “old school” technique of reaching the masses, but one many have found quite feasible) a unique perspective of the news, such as it is, for free, weekly, to as many people as possible.

    If the C-Ville Weekly were publicly (digitally) archived somewhere else that would be fine, but if our history, our news fades from collective memory almost immediately.

    The technology of television doesn’t lend itself to archiving, but print does and always has. It is intrinsic to the medium.

    I can’t complain if a print source doesn’t choose to retroactively digitise back issues, but for a paper with all-digital content and a functional website not to archive their own words (whether free or for a fee) implies either technical negligence or editorial embarassment.

    You either don’t know how to build a library of the words you spew or you’re afraid that in the light of time and consideration, news in the form of rash unresearched opinions might not hold up to your idealized (aggrandized) self-opinion.

    For what it’s worth, I hope the C-Villeekly just doesn’t have the tech savvy: “Waldo’s mini-empire” can help with that, your writing is your own burden to bear.

  10. A news website’s job is to show the news, and given that this content is dynamic in nature, to not have a dynamic page would be inane. Given that, any information that is shown will be on the front only momentarily. Now, if that information is being deleted rather than kept for later use, its lifespan is extremely short, and its use just as short-lived. Since the articles have already been written, it’s not but so hard to transfer them into an archive, therefore prolonging their worth, and adding the advantage that they can be linked to (otherwise the links would become invalid quickly, a day or two later at best). Most importantly, it has been shown time and time again that most of one’s page views come from previous content. For more information on keeping older content, Jakob Nielsen’s article, “Web Pages Must Live Forever” (http://www.useit.com/alertbox/981129.html) has excellent data (and numbers, oh my!) on why keeping older content is just so darn useful.

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