The Daily Progress will begin carrying Charlottesville Tomorrow’s stories, the two publications announced late Saturday night. No money is changing hands in the agreement. As the newspaper has lost reporters, it’s impacted their ability to have reporters present at meetings of regional government entities. Filling that void has been the privately-funded nonprofit Charlottesville Tomorrow, dedicated to providing neutral coverage of issues pertaining to development and growth in Albemarle County. The newspaper will publish their stories, providing Progress readers original coverage of important news and providing Charlottesville Tomorrow with an instant ten-fold increase in their readership.
Though I haven’t seen much of it for a while, when Charlottesville Tomorrow first started there was some significant push back against the organization from developers and folks aligned with them, who argued that the group was anti-development by virtue of so closely covering the topic. With Charlottesville Tomorrow’s just-the-facts approach to their coverage (DP editor McGregor McCance calls it “accurate, fair and balanced”), it’s tough to see any room for slant. I suspect we’re about to see quite a bit more complaints along those lines, despite that the conservative Progress has seldom had many unkind words for development or growth.
To the extent to which the Progress is relying on the continued generosity of Charlottesville Tomorrow’s donors, this might put the paper in an awkward position. On the other hand, by virtue of being a daily newspaper subject to the whims of a huge media conglomerate in a terrible economy, they’re already in an awkward position—at least this way they’ll be in an awkward position with a dozen more column inches of news every day.