Who Will Report the News? Weeklies, Monthlies and Blogs

In the last couple of days, I have come across two instances of excellent reporting on transportation and land use issues from obscure local publications. Both articles deserve exposure beyond their immediate circulation areas.

In Chesterfield Monthly, Scott Bass writes about the lack of a walkable city center in Chesterfield County. Chesterfield is largely a bedroom community; its downtown is the City of Richmond. The county takes a sprawling, amoebic form consisting mainly of subdivisions arrayed along auto-centric commercial corridors. But the thinking among planners and developers is changing, Bass reports.

Money quote from planning director Kirk Turner:

“The families with children in school that are looking for a house and a half-acre lot: Man, we got that nailed. We got lots of opportunities for those folks. Where we are lagging in the region is having the sort of housing opportunities that appeal to the young professional, folks just entering the work force. I think you’ll see that we are losing population in that area where Henrico and the city are probably gaining.”

In C-ville, Graelyn Bashear provides the single-most comprehensive overview of the Charlottesville Bypass controversy that I have seen anywhere. While the article doesn’t break any new ground from a news perspective, it provides a readable overview of the issue for non-bypass junkies who haven’t been following every twist and turn in the news. The article really shines in its use of maps, graphics, audio files and even video. An example can be seen below.

This is the kind of journalism that daily newspapers should be doing. As shrunken as they are, they have far more resources than local weeklies and monthlies. Until then, we can be thankful we have non-traditional publications like Chesterfield Monthly and C-Ville — and blogs like Bacon’s Rebellion — to keep the flame alive.

In a future post, I hope to show how citizen activists are helping to fill the journalistic void with their own probing and analysis of complex municipal issues.


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5 responses to “Who Will Report the News? Weeklies, Monthlies and Blogs”

  1. reed fawell III Avatar
    reed fawell III

    These are absolutely wonderful pieces of journalism.

    Hopefully they’re the harbingers of a hugely important emergent trend.

    Not only are these local journalists doing excellent and critically needed work for their community, they are also now capable of having a growing impact on the larger world thanks to technology.

    And along the way they are also filling a great void that has opened up by the long term neglect, incompetence, or soft corruption of larger more established news outlets, and also by the growing failures of society’s institutions today, not to mention the growing malaise of citizens generally.

    What a wonderful opportunities are afoot for young journalists today. Like all creative destruction, the sweeping aside of atrophied institutions and structures that dominated others and their thoughts before, now opens up vast opportunity for those who never had much of a fair chance before.

    Hence these stories show promise that growing numbers of local people are starting to take control of, and responsibility for, what is happening or not happening in their own communities. And are doing it because for far too long their communities (and important issues related to them) have been ignored or abused by the establishment – whether its local, state, or federal, or some combination of the above, and whether its by politicians, bureaucrats, business, non-profit special interests, or combination thereof.

    And the reach of these local people can be unlimited should they earn it.

  2. reed fawell III Avatar
    reed fawell III

    This morning I put up the following comment WITHOUT any knowledge of Graelynn Brashear’s written article “The Road, Albemarle County’s three decade fight over the Western By isn’t over yet.”

    Read Graelynn Brashear’s article found at c-ville.com/the-bypass – The same crew doing their evil work described in his article are also behind the incident described below in my post. The C-ville by-pass is an integral part of the plan to get cargo trucks from the south side of Virginia up Rt 17 to North South Corridor to the Dulles Airport. This sort of behavior represents corrupt politics of the worst kind doing its work in Virginia.

    The post below is found at Let the sun shine in on this website.

    “One of the more disturbing features of the controversy that concerns the North South Corridor issue is that there were several reliable reports of thuggish behavior by unelected Virginia state officials pushing the states’ proposal.

    These actions were said to be direct threats made in public by unelected state officials against elected local officials. The state was alleged to have threatened to take action against an entire community solely to punish that community because its elected official represented their interests.

    And it was said that the states threat was delivered for no other reason than to bully those local elected official into violating their obligation to protect their community against a ill founded state proposal. One that not only posed a threat to their community but one that was plainly and obviously being sold by the state’s own demonstratively false narrative.

    Such conduct is unusual in Virginia. Here, where the state action was reported to have raised its ugly head in public during the deliberations of a local elected body in that body’s own forum, one can only imagine what kind of thuggish behavior is going on behind the scenes in private.

    Such behavior if true is thoroughly corrupt. It plunges a knife into representative government. It replaces a commonwealth with an autocracy that forces its will on its citizens by its own lawless behavior. It can only happen and continue at the direction of its supreme leader. This should never be tolerated. Those who engage in it should be held accountable. This includes a sitting governor who not only allows it to happen on his watch, but allows it to happen without a public rebuke.

    If true, this state action inexcusable. It opens to door for future abuse.”

    1. reed fawell III Avatar
      reed fawell III

      Regarding some of a many reported stories:



      1. reed fawell III Avatar
        reed fawell III

        correction: The C-ville by-pass is an integral part of the plan to get cargo trucks from the south side of Virginia up ROUTE 29 to North South Corridor to the Dulles Airport. (NOT Rt 17)

  3. re: ” It can only happen and continue at the direction of its supreme leader. ”

    ???? can you explain what you mean here?

    Also .. if I just swapped out the Cville Bypass with the MWAA tolls for METRO, would your view be substantially different?

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