Monthly Archive for April, 2009

More Dumps Found on Batesville Property

Albemarle is investigating two more dumps on the Chiles family property in Batesville, Brandon Shulleeta reports in today’s Daily Progress. Henry Chiles has already been cited for a large illegal dump on his property, but eagle-eyed readers noted that it wasn’t the only dump visible on Google Maps, where one more presumed dump can be spotted. The DEQ says that this dump is the worst in the area in recent history. Mr. Chiles says that he’ll clean it up, and maintains that he didn’t know anything about the waste until the county informed him.

News Virginian Rethinks Internet Strategy

The Waynesboro News Virginian has started doing something clever, Lindsay Barnes writes for The Hookthey’re saving their best stories for their print publication. Though a few years ago it made sense for a publication to drive traffic to its website, plummeting online advertising revenues, along with circulation rates for print publications, have made it a better idea for a publication to use its website to promote its print publication. In today’s paper, they promote a story about “sexually explicit lyrics” contained within a song played at a middle school dance, cutting off the story after the fourth paragraph and encouraging readers to “pick up The News Virginian today at an area newsstand to get the full story.” The story is a print-only exclusive, until tomorrow, when the full story goes up online. If it goes well for them, Progress managing editor McGregor McCance says they might try it, too.

Media General has their publications do a lot of dumb things, but this isn’t one of them. It’s actually a sensible strategy, because it drives readers to where the advertising (and copy-sales) dollars are. This might have been a foolish move a few years ago, but now newspapers are in such dire financial straits that it seems well worth a try. We do this at VQR, putting about half of the contents of each issue online and accessible to the non-subscribing public, and putting only the beginnings of the rest of the stories online, with promotions to read the rest by picking up a copy. The more time passes, the more of each issue is available online. After five years we open up everything to the public. Here’s hoping it works out for the News Virginian.

First Democratic City Council Forum Held

The first public forum for the three Democratic City Council candidates was held a few days ago, Sean Tubbs and Brian Wheeler write for Charlottesville Tomorrow, with Dave Norris, Kristin Szakos, and Julian Taliaferro answering a total of seventeen questions on the water supply, infrastructure plans, the McIntire Parkway, relations with the county, noise pollution from the amphitheater, the YMCA, and more. Charlottesville Tomorrow provides the audio of the forum, with video and a transcript to come.

DP Website Gets an Advertising Upgrade

In a press release, Media General mentions that they’re testing out a new online advertising model on the Daily Progress website:

A transforming development occurring in the world of online advertising right now is the deployment of Yahoo!’s targeted advertising technology on our Web sites. This capability opens significant opportunity for our markets and advertisers. Essentially, the Yahoo! technology delivers smart ads to users based on their online behavior. Our pilot site launched in Charlottesville in March. We’ve signed new business in the auto, retail, service and real estate categories as a result. Advertisers are keenly interested in being able to target their message so precisely to consumers who are most likely to buy their product or service. All of our sites will be using this leading-edge technology by the end of the third quarter.

Yahoo only started customizing ads for viewers of their ad network sites in February, the culmination of a disastrous years-long process to duplicate Google’s success in the same market. The move means that while the Progress was once limited to displaying the same advertisements on their entire website, no matter the visitor, now somebody who has read an article about the Dogwood Festival is more likely to see an ad for the event. If this sounds obvious, you’re right—Google and DoubleClick have been providing these sorts of ads for over half a decade. This is good news for the Progress, though, because it increases the value of their online advertising at a time when they very much need to show Media General that they’re a newspaper worth keeping as a going interest.

Dogwood Carnival Victim of McIntire Plans

The Dogwood Festival will need a new home, Christina Mora reports for NBC-29, since McIntire Park is being converted into something considerably less park-like. The event has been held in McIntire Park for sixty years (before that it was the Apple Harvest Festival, held in the fall beginning in 1950). The organizers are looking for a new home for their rides and fireworks, somewhere in Charlottesville or Albemarle.

I wonder if this means that our annual Fourth of July celebration can’t continue to be held in McIntire? If that’s the case, City Council may find itself with a full-blown rebellion on hand. It’s one thing to eliminate softball fields. It’s another to eliminate the only viable location in the city to celebrate the founding of our nation.

4:02 PM Update: Mayor Dave Norris says it ain’t so:

The media accounts on 29 and in the Hook are incorrect. The City is NOT planning to evict the Dogwood Carnival from McIntire Park. If anything, the changes afoot for the western side of the park will make McIntire an even better home for the Dogwood Festival. The only issue is what to do with the Festival NEXT YEAR if there is a major construction project going on in the park at that time.



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