Tuesday, December 16, 2008

RVA Snooze

Notice how I haven't posted about Richmond media, politics or news in a long time? It's not by choice, there is just nothing that has sustained my interest in awhile. Plus I'm much more interesting when I write about stuff that's, well, interesting to me (like hedonism). I need mayor elect Dwight Jones to get drunk next to me at a bar and reveal a secret love child or something.

So in the spirit of Christmas and in the spirit of hitting the snooze button over and over (and in my case until about 3 PM everyday), I made a list of local news, Richmond happenings and local web gossip that have recently held my attention for the first few sentences and then ultimately put me back into my bear-like slumber:

Here's Some Interesting Stuff, Although Not Blog Worthy Unless I Do One Giant Blog Post With Bullet Points...Like This One:

1. The Demise of The Richmond Times Dispatch (Print Edition): I admit to reading the RTD, almost cover to cover, everyday. I enjoy it for the most part and for a local paper it does an adequate job in regards to relaying local, national and international information without too much clutter.

I enjoy the sometimes over-hyped columnist Michael Paul Williams. He never blows me away, but I always have to finish his column. The sports, especially the Wednesday coverage of local sports is a real bright spot too.

None of this by itself is interesting but the recent rise in blog and mainstream chatter about the death of the RTD (among many other papers) is what is interesting. I grew up with the RTD and in high school I actually had an article written about me and my basketball, but I definately won't be sad when it goes. As a fervent Internet user I can easily read it online. The problem is, I'll probably just switch to a nicer news website (NY Times, MSNBC, The Post) when shit does hit the fan. This brings me to the next somewhat interesting local occurrence:

2. The Rise Of Crappy Local Media Websites: What the hell happened over the past few months? I'm fairly sure that Media General (owners of the RTD) met with Style Weekly and said, "Look, we're all broke. Let's all make a cheap, difficult to use website and that way no one will really stand out. "

I emailed the editor of Style Weekly, Jason Roop (drunk) one night, complaining about how the new Style Website is a pain to use and an eyesore. His response, "It's a work in progress." Yeah no shit, but why even put it up until it's perfect? Same with the RTD. While writing this post I wanted to re-check some of the sites and go through some archives, so I went to Inrich.com expecting to see the papers website, but instead it took me a few minutes to figure out that I needed to go to Timesdispatch.com for what I was looking for. Now with Richmond.com on their hands, Media General has created a huge clusterfuck of ugly websites where you can't find anything.

As I've mentioned before, RVA News and any other website that wants a chance to explode has a real opening right now. Unfortunately small sites (such as RVA News) simply don't have the money or the man power to crank out enough content to really spike their readership at the moment. Although at least they have a well made, easy to use website (and a kickass dating column).

Update: I received an indepth email from Jason Roop shortly after posting this which explained a lot more about the new site and the process behind it than I had bothered to find out in the first place. Okay, I crapped on Style way to quickly. I apologize. But that's sort of what I do. Crap on things, people, relationships (my own and others).... I'll give the new Style Weekly site another chance to win my affections.

3. Shockoe Bottom and Boulevard Development: Recently fellow blogger and friend Jon Baliles emailed myself and a few other "top" bloggers in the city to attend some sort of proposal from the city and developers concerning the Boulevard area and the Bottom. No offense to Jon, but after nearly having Diet Pepsi come out of my nose from laughing so hard, I hit the ol' delete button. Okay I can understand inviting the bloggers who get off on reporting to their 7 readers about the cities comings and goings, but inviting me? Or Tobacco Avenue? Seriously? They must be taking crazy pills.

Don't get me completely wrong here, I'd like to see the city improve and I'd like to see an awesome baseball stadium in Downtown, but personally I'm just not ready to commit to Richmond long term. For all I know and for what I sometimes hope, I could be bartending in Brooklyn this time next year.

I think it's funny that the city wanted bloggers at that meeting though. It tells me two things: Old people are starting to realize that blogs and more importantly, this internet thingie, is where the future is. And two, it tells me that they actually think that a group of bloggers could help provide a ground swell of support or in that same vein, accomplish something in regards to these developments. Now, I'm sure to catch a lot of flack for that last line, but c'mon guys, bringing a limited readership and zero dollars into play amounts to a whole lot of nothing. But don't let that come off as arrogant because I'll make fun of myself faster than any blogger in Richmond. Of course I'll also make fun of every other blogger too (which I just did).

4. John Murden Running For City Council: Okay so I just made fun of the limited power that bloggers in Richmond have and this guy/blogger (who I've never met) could win a spot that would provide him with a glorious and unlimited taste of sweet sweet power. Sooo, ahh, I've contradicted myself. In the name of bloggers, I hope he wins. It goes to show that blogging has soooo many benefits and in his case and in the case of many others, blogging can act as an online resume. Which essentially means that I'm fucked.

Does a Murden victory mean anything for Richmond bloggers as a whole? No, not really. But to John personally and to his site, The CHPN, it means a great deal. Good luck Murden.

5. The Richmond Blogging Community As A Whole: While I've certainly seen my readership grow over the past year and I've seen a few other Richmond based blogs grow, there is still an incredible amount of room to expand. RVA Blogs has many more blogs than it did a year ago, but I still don't see Richmond as some sort of vibrant, internet blogging community. Living in DC and interacting with that blog scene or just perusing the hundreds and thousands of NYC based blogs makes me realize that Richmond is essentially a small, backwards ass town. This is still the south. We are still behind. I don't care if it's a stereotype, southerners in general are a bit slower. You can refute that with examples of individual people, but looking at the group as a whole? Nuh uh. "We don't like no change round here boy." (done in my best Cletus (of The Simpson's) voice)

With that being said, I enjoy numerous local blogs. In fact the number of quality local blogs that I click on at least once a week has grown exponentially in the past few months alone.

6. The Local Economy Sucks It: I know it's been said many times, many ways, but this blows. My tip money is down, bar sales are down, Sarvay over at Buttermilk tried to sell me his blog for 25 dollars and a pair of socks (I declined), and we're all feeling some sort of crunch here. But having to hear about it every 8 seconds is even worse. Let's look at the bright spots; Gas is cheap, Hulu and numerous other websites have popped up which enable me to steal artists hard earned work for free, women will still date a guy who is interesting, albeit broke as shit, and the streets are flooded with drugs priced to move quickly. (Okay I was joking about the last one. The drugs are actually priced to move at a snails pace, not that it's stopping anyone from buying.)

...Okay so this rant has run it's course. Tune back in tomorrow for something a bit more Jack Goes Forth-related.


Richmondite said...

You're right dude. I just nodded off while I was reading this post! Haha.

Seriously though, good work. Making fun of other bloggers is always a smart move.

Anonymous said...
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the one and only ridor said...

Agreed about inrich.com -- I do not understand why the Media General chose to confuse the readers at time goes by -- by confusing the readers, they simply alienated them from coming back!

As for Style Weekly, I used to enjoy its simple website before they revamped recently now ... there are some links on the right side that I had to use my mouse to scroll right to reach ... argh.

rvanews is alright. rvablogs -- well, i had been part of that for a while. not only that, i agreed with what you said about nyc blogs and dc blogs -- i had been part of nyc blogs and dc blogs -- both simply are a notch above richmond by a mile or two.

perhaps, it's time for local bloggers to get together and socialize ... perhaps, sponsored by rvablogs.com staff? that's what NYC and DC bloggers did each year.


onetinyspark said...

no worries, hulu is owned by nbc. so you're at least not stealing there.

Andrew said...

Compared to other places I've lived (and currently live), Richmond has a much more advanced blogging community. Traditional news sites (inRich.com, TimesDispatch.com, etc) are failing all over the place, not just in Richmond. It's too bad, because local information is valuable but the online ad-supported business model doesn't quite pay the bills for large media companies who are used to receiving bloated CPMs for their print products. Add to that the fact that consumers aren't willing to pay for content online (witness NYTimes and WSJ opening up more free content), and big media companies are screwed.

This is not just a shameless plug, but sites like RichmondWiki.org are one alternative for people seeking local information in addition to relevant local blogs. Just like Wikipedia, anybody can contribute. Unlike Wikipedia, RichmondWiki.org has a hyperlocal focus so all of the information is from and about Richmond.

Clay said...

Jack, we can no longer hangout Sunday nights anymore. For my livers sake that is.

Anonymous said...

I thought about moving to Richmond once because of the huge supply of hot ass and cheap living... but then I decided, if I did that, I would have been better off driving down the road to Atlanta, maybe Birmingham, Tuscaloosa or Memphis. But then that would mean "moving back." There's always someplace better.

Jack Goes Forth said...

Clay- I agree.

Andrew- I like RichmondWiki. It's a good idea and from what I've seen so far, it's doing well. Although I need to go in and change some of my info. You know, add the whole graduated from Columbia at 19, dated Miley Cyrus, blog gets 100,000 hits a day...just the pertinent info.

Anon- Trust me, I love the cap city, but I certainly don't see myself locked here. I'd like to go cheaper, but NYC keeps calling my name.