Category Archives: Meta News

News about local media

C-Ville Weekly‘s Racist Rant

A recent issue of the C-Ville Weekly included a paragraph from “The Rant” that read as follows:

To all you black motherf#$%ers running up here to the Charlottesville restaurants looking for free food, we wouldn’t be known as a restaurant, we would be know as a food bank. So, from now on when you bring your black ass into a restaurant in Charlottesville and want free food, carry your asses to a food bank. Thank you.

This was received poorly, as Marcella Robertson reported for NBC-29 yesterday. Protesters gathered in front of the newspaper’s Downtown Mall office, resulting in editor Giles Morris reading a prepared statement of apology to them. The paper also ran an apology in the current week’s issue. (I would link to the original piece or the apology on C-Ville Weekly’s site, but I cannot find either.)

Unfortunately, the paper’s response is to simply keep a tighter rein on the section (“rants that are sexist, racist, or in any way espouse points of view motivated by hate will not run in the paper”), rather than to finally axe the execrable embarrassment that is “The Rant.” If they don’t publish any comments “motivated by hate,” there would be virtually nothing left. The very purpose of it is to provide a public forum for people to say things that they would never say with their name attached to it, comments that would never otherwise be printed in the paper. It’s been some years since “The Rant” was added to the weekly, and it has cheapened the publication markedly ever since. (Most tellingly, they’re happy to print nasty remarks about individuals, but they censor the names of businesses that are criticized. Businesses advertise in the newspaper, of course, while individuals do not.) Morris would be smart to go beyond sanitizing “The Rant,” and just kill it. The newspaper and Charlottesville would be better for it.

Charlottesville Tomorrow Teams Up with C-Ville Weekly

Charlottesville Tomorrow is extending its content sharing to a new publication, they’ve announced in an unsigned story, to include the publication of education stories in C-Ville Weekly. No money is changing hands in the agreement, which includes a cooperative venture to put together a voter guide for city and county school board elections in November. The collaboration gets underway in June. Simultaneous to this news is Charlottesville Tomorrow’s Kickstarter-based effort to raise $17,000 to fund a new education-reporter position. The expansion into education marks a noted increase in the scope of the mission of the non-profit, which has focused primarily on development-related issues since its 2005 founding.

It was nearly four years ago that the online-only publication struck a similar deal with the Daily Progress, in a similar deal: the Progress prints the organization’s voter guide, in exchange for being able to run any Charlottesville Tomorrow stories that they want.

Cavalier Daily Reducing to Twice-Weekly

A year after eliminating their Friday edition, the Cavalier Daily plans to print just two issues each week, Nieman Journalism Lab reports. Beginning with the fall term, they’ll print a “newsmagazine” on Monday and Thursday. The rest of the week they’ll be online-only. While this saves the paper a huge amount of money, since their major cost is printing, it also eliminates their major source of revenue—print advertising. The shift also surely reflects the reality how UVA students expect to receive news, which is via Twitter, Facebook, websites, etc. Last year’s Dragas/Sullivan saga proved to be an ideal opportunity for the publication’s staffers to embrace digital media, and their Facebook page, Twitter feed, and website quickly became essential sources of information for the many thousands of people trying to keep up with the fast-emerging story over the course of many weeks.

Hook Sued, But Case Promptly Dropped

Here’s a bit of old news that’s new to me, from Courthouse News Service: The Hook was sued for libel in September, but the lawsuit was withdrawn the very next day. Curtis Ofori claimed a dozen defamatory statements in a December 2011 article about UVA student Kathryn Russell and her alleged rape by Curtis Ofori. The possibility of a libel suit was even pondered within the article, with attorney David Heilberg speculating that Ofori would be unlikely to sue, because he wouldn’t want the resulting public scrutiny of the matter. With the lawsuit dropped, that is presumably the end of the matter.

Ownership Change, New Editor at The Hook

Two years after The Hook and C-Ville Weekly merged their parent companies, founder Hawes Spencer is selling his shares and stepping down as editor. Senior Editor Courteney Stuart, a founding staffer at the publication, will become the new editor, effective January 1. In contrast with the acrimonious 2002 split that calved The Hook from C-Ville Weekly, this is by all accounts a friendly parting of ways, with Spencer off for new opportunities. In a phone conversation with Spencer this morning, he expressed confidence in Stuart, and is clearly enthusiastic about seeing his newspaper continue after his eleven-year time at the helm.