Our One-Year Anniversary

Happy birthday to us. cvillenews.com is one year old…as of Thursday. (Close enough.) In that year, there have been 489 stories, 2613 comments and 180 registered users, plus countless anonymous posters. This year has brought us notable stories like the investigation into UVa students for cheating; the UVa hospital’s firing of convicted felons; living wage protests; the coal tower killings, the standoff with suspect Craig Nordenson, and subsequent chase and capture of Nordenson; September 11th, the police beating of a suspect, the earthquake, the approval of power plant after power plant; the death of Emily Couric; the launch of the Internet free-speech chalkboard; the debut of The Hook; and most recently, the arrest of CHS students for attacking UVa students. I’d like to take this occasion to ask you: what is cvillenews.com doing right, and what is it doing wrong? Are the stories about the right things? Is it useful to you? Oh, and thanks, all. It’s been a good year.

27 Responses to “Our One-Year Anniversary”


  • Firstly, it is a great site, thanks for running it. I catch a lot more of what happens in Cville because of it. I’d like to see:

  • More than one person approving submissions

    Waldo is great but is only one person, and when he’s busy the site goes untouched for days
  • Persistent discussion area

    Some issues are great to discuss over time, maybe there’s a way to keep them up without posting “news” stories all the time.
  • Ask Cvillenews

    Ala Ask Slashdot
  • How about some photos

  • I agree with the first post… no offense to Waldo, but there should be more people in editorial control of the site. It would provide more of a feeling that this site has broad, fair coverage of local news. Especially in light of the coverage of the city council elections and the fact that Waldo was covering his own race. Or when Waldo covers DMB by pointing traffic to his nancies.org site. (That’s a bit too self-promotional.)

  • Or when Waldo covers DMB by pointing traffic to his nancies.org site. (That’s a bit too self-promotional.)

    I don’t mean this to minimize your point, but I don’t do that, actually. I just went and grabbed the first five things that came up from a search for “Dave Matthews Band”:

    DMB Donates $20k to Skate Park

    UVa to Demolish Trax, Max

    DMB Donates to Madison House

    DMB Video Released

    Hugs for All

    I should link to nancies.org — frankly, it’s a much more useful site than the official one.

  • Sorry, that was my first post on cvillenews.com with my brand-new computer, and I forgot to log in. :)

  • Not to minimize your counterpoint, but this story would be the biggest offender:

    http://www.cvillenews.com/article.php?sid=271

    Secondly, I came up with SEVEN hits for a search on “nancies”, including all four references to “Dave Matthews Band” that actually link to YOUR site instead of the band’s actual site http://www.davematthesband.com/.

    Thirdly: your site is more useful in a “collect all the random references to DMB” in a fun-fan sort of way, but your site is also known for publishing way too much rumor and innuendo about the band as well.

    I just think it looks real bad that you run this site and then link to nancies.org whenever the words “Dave Matthews Band” are in the link. It looks very selfish/self-promotional, instead of being objective reporting.

    Other than the election stuff (which, through no fault of your own, you were in a big pickle to report on) and the points I’ve made about DMB reporting, the rest of your site is run very, very well. :) If you just had one or two more editors on this site who handled the DMB-related news (or your election news, should you run again), then the conflict-of-interest question wouldn’t hurt you so much.

  • Happy (belated) birthday!

    I think you’re running a great community site. Overall, I’d rate you a 7.5 or 8 out of 10. In case you were wondering, that’s high praise.

    The only suggestion I’d offer for improvement is adding a forum that isn’t directly tied to the news stories. One that allows topics that are independent of the comments on articles.

    Great job!

  • I just think it looks real bad that you run this site and then link to nancies.org whenever the words “Dave Matthews Band” are in the link. It looks very selfish/self-promotional, instead of being objective reporting.

    Oddly, this is standard practice for the Big Companies. News.com, obnoxiously, used to have a policy of never linking outside of their own site. So if they’d mention Apple, they’d link to a recent article on Apple rather than link to Apple. If they’d mention a certain model of computer, they’d link to their price-comparison site’s listing of it at computers.com. A mention of the shareware industry, they’d link to their own shareware.com.

    And, yeah, that was pretty obnoxious. I guess that’s why I stopped linking to nancies.org and started linking to dmband.com. It was a less-than-conscious switch, though, I imagine.

    Thirdly: your site is more useful in a “collect all the random references to DMB” in a fun-fan sort of way, but your site is also known for publishing way too much rumor and innuendo about the band as well.

    Yeah, but we’re at about 99% accuracy in reporting, so we’ve go that going for us. But that’s a different discussion entirely. :)

  • I intend to do all three of these things. A few comments, though:

    More than one person approving submissions

    Actually, that’s not a problem. Submissions usually get added pretty quickly, unless they’re not worth listing. The problem is that we don’t get a whole lot of submissions. That’s improved recently, as is evidenced by the amount of italicized text on the front page. :) But let’s put that at the top of my wish list: I wish that more people would submit news.

    However, that doesn’t negate your point: there should be more people working on the site. I couldn’t agree more. This stuff is a pain sometimes. :) The question is: who?

    Persistent discussion area

    Indeed. I tried to switch the software from PHPNuke to PostNuke for this very reason (among others) about 8 weeks ago, but that was a disaster. I hope to try again before long.

    Ask cvillenews.com

    Agreed. We had a couple of things in this vein a couple of months ago, and that was pretty cool. I’ll create this category. I’d do it this very second, but I have to invent an icon for it first. :)

    All good ideas!

  • Photos would be cool, but that would involve having a digital camera and having the time to actually go to a place where a picture should be taken and doing so.

    Owning neither a digital camera nor a car means that this probably won’t happen. :)

  • No photos, please. The thing I like about these discussion boards is that it’s verbal, not visual. Keep it a discussion, not a place to look at pictures.

    (Yes, I know that it’s possible to have both, but I fear a slippery slope wherein image will gradually come to outweigh word. Yes, I’m an English major.)

  • To provide counterpoint to the above poster–I have always felt the site gives broad, fair coverage of local news, despite it being mostly Waldo approving submissions. I hardly fear that he’s secretly trashing submissions that he disagrees with. He may want some help with the editorial work, but the site doesn’t need it to be more legitimate, in my opinion.

  • I endorse all these comments, particularly the praise of Waldo and the suggestion that he bring in other editors both for balance and for greater volume. Getting others to contribute regularly is hard when it is a volunteer enterprise. So if I may suggest something nobody else has: How about generating a little revenue from classified ads? Employment and real estate ads in particular are the bread-and-butter of most newspapers. The great advantage of the Web is they could be unobtrusive. A click away, for those who want to see them. I do not think generating revenue would put at risk Waldo’s “fair use” copyright protection, but he may want to check that.

  • I’m not trying to say that Waldo omits stories; the point I’m trying to make is that it’s damn hard to run an objective news site when it’s only one person. It’s the conflict-of-interest issue that cannot be escaped regardless of the editor. Thats why there are teams of editors for good news outlets, as opposed to single editors.

    For example, if Waldo had one more person as an editor/poster for this site, he could always defer to that person to make a decision as to whether to post something about DMB or the city election. In return, Waldo could handle the news postings for subject areas in which the other editor was involved in (for example, any news about that person’s place of employment).

    This was never meant to be a slam against Waldo… it’s just a suggestion for improvement. :)

    (But please cut down on the DMB-related news… we get enough of that fan-boy crap in the Hook!)

  • Well, of course, it would be nice to have a staff of reporters going out to cover all the news, and editors deciding what mix of stories get online, but what makes this site worth visiting isn’t the news itself (I doubt anyone would imply that cvillenews.com should be a source of the “full story” on any local event), but the fact that anyone can throw their two cents into the discussion. If I want to find out the facts I read the paper or listen to WINA – if I want to find out what other people are saying about an issue, I come here.

    The site isn’t perfect, but I think we all owe a debt to Waldo for his efforts here. Who cares if there’s too much of one thing or another?

  • Damn, Waldo, you have a one-year anniversary and people slam you. That sucks

  • I’m not slamming him… I’m providing constructive criticism. I’d love for this site to go to the next level and become a true community resource, but it requires more than the efforts of just one guy.

    Let me reinterate… Waldo, this is a true gem you have going here… just get someone else to help out so the conflict-of-interest thing isn’t an issue.

  • What is with this “conflict of interest” concern? We think Waldo is suppressing submissions about DMB or City Council? We’d feel so much better if there were Person #2 to whom all Waldo-sensitive submissions would go because we can’t trust Waldo to handle those submissions? You say you’re not slamming Waldo, but you’re saying he can’t be trusted to handle things in an above-board manner.

    How about this: assume that some people _can_ set aside their own personal interests in a given topic in order to serve the broader community. Waldo has given every indication that he’s one of those kind of people. Let’s have a little more faith in humanity.

  • “Trust… but verify.”

    The reason the whole “conflict-of-interest” thing exists is to VERIFY that someone who controls something like the media or a government post will not have the ability (trust or no trust) to abuse the position in order to benefit his or her other interests.

    It’s not that I can’t trust Waldo… it’s that there is a pre-existing standard for things like this and it removes the whole trust question from the equation. That’s why there are things like disclaimers on news media outlets (for example, when MSNBC reports on Microsoft, or when CNBC reports financial information about GE) and blind trusts for stock holdings for the President and cabinent members. It’s not a question of trusting the individual… it’s a standard by which you insure that trust is maintained.

  • I would submit that if you _have_ to verify, then you don’t trust. That’s like saying to your partner, “sweetie, I trust you not to cheat on me, and to insure that my trust is maintained, I have measures in place to verify that you aren’t cheating on me.” Trust involves a leap of faith–what you’re describing is not trust.

    Which, for me, is fine for something like a corporate news media outlet, which I flatly don’t trust (and don’t think anyone should trust). I think it’s silly to apply this same standard to Waldo, who can in no reasonable sense be said to “control” the media. He controls his web site–that’s not the media, even if his web site provides a forum to discuss the same topics that local media covers.

  • Obviously, the way this site is now, it’s not a large community. It’s not viewed by a large part of the population of Charlottesville. Thus, if he wants to grow it, he needs to take it to the next level. That level includes having a system that doesn’t naively rely on blind faith and trust. It would need a system that eliminates conflicts of interest through full disclosure and having one or two more people sharing editorial control. That’s all I’m trying to say.

  • No, no, none of these are slams. These are all great and useful comments, and I appreciate them. I asked for feedback and criticisms, and I’ve already started to act on those that I’ve gotten.

    Thanks to everybody that’s posted here.

  • Obviously, the way this site is now, it’s not a large community. It’s not viewed by a large part of the population of Charlottesville. Thus, if he wants to grow it, he needs to take it to the next level. That level includes having a system that doesn’t naively rely on blind faith and trust.

    I agree. I’m not sure that I want to grow it, to be honest, but should I desire to make this any larger and more news-source-like than it is, it will be necessary to be more…um…media-like.

  • Thanks to the excellent submissions that have come in over the past two days. Each morning I’ve found a clear and concise write-up of the day’s big news item, which does two things: makes my life easier, and allows the news on the site to come from the community, rather than from me.

    Thanks, folks!

  • Congrats to cvillenews.com, Waldo, and all who are involved, especially those who post. Of course the site isn’t perfect, but it’s damn good, it’s a great member of the local cyber community, and I disagree totally with those who think everything here gets a “Waldo Spin” or anything of the sort. I’ve never noticed that. In fact, it seems he has taken great pains to try to prevent that.

    The only suggestion I have would be to require all users to register and create a screen name. General anonymity would be preserved, but it would add substantial value to the discussion threads to know which “entity” posted a particular comment. I don’t know who BurntHombre or who Belle are, but it’s good to know what they have to say, and to know that it’s them.

    That’s all. Keep up the good work!

  • The only suggestion I have would be to require all users to register and create a screen name. General anonymity would be preserved, but it would add substantial value to the discussion threads to know which “entity” posted a particular comment. I don’t know who BurntHombre or who Belle are, but it’s good to know what they have to say, and to know that it’s them.

    I may just do that once I switch to PostNuke from PHP-Nuke. The registration process is much easier with that software.

  • it will be necessary to be more…um…media-like.

    I’m not sure about this inevitability. Has this been the experience of Slashdot? (I don’t think so, but . . . )

  • Comments are currently closed.

    Sideblog

    Recent Comments