Tuesday, August 30, 2011

More Crapola Desguised as a Newspaper

Oh, lord help us all, the local daily is expanding those awful little zoned editions--the ones written and photographed for free by "citizen journalists"--into Blacksburg and Christiansburg, replacing the daily edition (The Current) that has been a mainstay competitor for the small papers of the area for years.

The paper has discovered that these sad little publications, which cost very little to publish, can be quite lucrative and it appears we're taking yet another step away from journalism and into ... well, whatever the hell this self-congratulatory black hole is.

Here's part of the press release:

A local daily in Roanoke today announced the launch of new print and online products to serve New River Valley readers. The fresh new print publication called The Burgs and companion website ... will provide local news to readers, drawing on much of the content from The Current, but offering even more news and information about Blacksburg, Christiansburg and neighboring communities.

"The two will debut the week of Sept. 25 and include these changes:

     Print subscribers in the New River Valley will receive The Burgs on Thursdays through Sundays. The new publication will replace The Current, a zoned product that publishes Tuesdays through Sundays. The new publication will include content now featured in The Current, plus draw on additional photos and community information contributed by readers.
     A new website will provide online readers with daily updates of breaking news and stories that reflect the communities of the New River Valley. The site will provide a closer look at news and achievements in local schools, businesses and youth sports. Users will be invited to upload photos, post community information and share their submissions via The Burgs and social media.
     In addition to The Burgs, readers can continue to find breaking news and in-depth enterprise reporting about the New River Valley in the pages of [a local daily] throughout the week.

The staffing will include a community content coordinator and two community journalists who will develop relationships with schools, community organizations and businesses to produce stories and encourage those groups to contribute content.


  1. This has to be great news for Wayne Brockenbrough as he enters a new round of competition against the Roanoke Times. If he hires decent reporters at a good pay rate while "The Burgs" is using "community journalists" to coordinate all the user-generated content, he will be ahead of the game. The Big Drip has been less and less about news for many years, even though many major events have happened in the New River Valley that have been more worthy of the front page than some Roanoke happenings.

    I worked for the News Messenger ages ago before a falling out will Bill Hall put me out the door (my choice). I ended up with New River Newspapers when it was run by the Rooker family, as a reporter for the Radford News Journal, when there was also the Southwest Times and Blacksburg Sun in existence. The news staffs of all those papers was young and idealistic in that Woodward and Bernstein era, but we worked hard and we scooped the RT often because we were out in the trenches while the bureau folks did most of their work by phone from their trailer office on Rt. 114. Things haven't changed much, they still phone it in a lot, or just don't bother to cover many government meetings if there isn't much on the agenda. Many other events and activities don't get much notice in favor of filling space with reader-submitted pictures of squirrels, dogs, and flowers.

    It is a good thing there are some dedicated bloggers in the valley who have worked hard to keep after the local government officials, otherwise there are some things that would have slipped by without notice, especially in Christiansburg.

    Will anyone really notice much change in the transition to "The Burgs"? Probably not.

  2. Bruce: I couldn't find anything about Brockenbrough on Google or anywhere else. Is he some sort of mystery figure? Tell me about him.