Local News Now, the publisher of ARLnow.com, is announcing several key strategic hires today as it continues to build a sustainable future for local online news.
LNN has hired Andrea Swalec, previously a reporter and editor at the local news website DNAinfo New York, to be the company’s new editorial director. Andrea will help support and oversee LNN’s three current sites — ARLnow.com, BethesdaNow.com and RestonNow.com — and will take the lead in launching the company’s new Capitol Hill site, HillNow.com. A tentative launch date of Oct. 20 has been set for Hill Now.
Andrea previously worked at NBC Local Integrated Media and contributed to The Current Newspapers — including Voice of the Hill, formerly a weekly newspaper covering Capitol Hill — and the New York Times blog The Local.
The addition of Andrea to the LNN team will help the company continue to grow while maintaining high editorial standards and our hyper-focus on local communities. LNN now employs five full-time journalists, in addition to a growing roster of freelance contributors.
On the sales side, over the past month LNN has signed agreements with two advertising sales contractors in Reston and Bethesda. The contractors will work with LNN’s full-time sales director to boost sales while providing advertising clients with friendly, highly-personalized, locally-based service.
“There are no better sales advocates for our local news websites than those who live and work in the communities that we cover,” said LNN founder Scott Brodbeck.
Meanwhile, work is wrapping up on a significant site redesign for the LNN network. Initially launched at the end of August, the redesign is intended to improve the user experience across LNN sites, boost readability on mobile devices, and add additional revenue-generating opportunities. The site was designed by D.C.-based design firm Brave UX and coded by 10up, a premier WordPress development firm that counts FiveThirtyEight, TechCrunch and Entertainment Weekly among its credits.
“These moves represent a significant investment in the future of the company and a vote of confidence for the profitability of well-run local, independent online news operations,” said Brodbeck. “As we continue to experience sales growth, we are reinvesting that revenue in journalism, human capital and technology. We look forward to continuing to find ways to better serve our existing local communities while looking for opportunities to serve other communities with our unique brand of interesting, relevant and timely local news coverage.”
After the launch of HillNow.com, LNN has a fifth D.C. area site launch in the pipeline, tentatively targeted for mid-2015. The exact location of that site is yet to be announced.
Founded in 2010, Local News Now is based in the Rosslyn area of Arlington, Va. The company has six full-time employees in Virginia and Maryland, in addition to two sales contractors and several part-time, freelance reporters.
Crumbs Could Reopen — The shuttered Crumbs Bakeshop in Clarendon could reopen, after the bankrupt cupcake company was purchased by a new owner. Fischer Enterprises has yet to reveal which of Crumbs’ 48 stores will reopen. [Washington Business Journal]
Arlington’s Naturalist Blogs on the Side — Frustrated with “days filled with meetings and paperwork” after he started working as the natural resources manager for Arlington’s Dept. of Parks and Recreation, Alonso Abugattas founded an educational blog and Facebook group called Capital Naturalist. The blog has a loyal following among readers and respect from fellow naturalists. [Washington Post]
Transportation Among Reasons Politico Stayed — The president of Monday Properties, the major Rosslyn property owner, says political publication Politico decided to renew its office lease in Rosslyn largely because of “superior transit options and greater concentration of housing and retail.” [Washington City Paper]
Changes Coming to ARLnow — ARLnow.com is expected to roll out a website redesign this afternoon. The site may experience brief downtime during the transition. Readers should also expect various menu and visual changes immediately after the transition.
Photo courtesy Donna Gouse
Doughnut Truck Comes to Arlington — A new food truck devoted to doughnuts has hit the streets of Arlington. The truck, from the Penn Quarter eatery Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken, is so far only selling doughnuts and coffee. It plans to stop in Rosslyn, Clarendon and Ballston. [Washingtonian]
Fundraising for Hot Car Mom — A local couple is trying to raise $50,000 for the legal defense of Zoraida Magali Conde Hernandez, the mother accused of accidentally leaving her 8-month-old son in a car for 6 hours on a hot day, leading to his death. The couple says they were “heartbroken” for Hernandez, who is facing a charge of felony child neglect. [Patch]
Flashback: Arlington’s Last Chicken Debate — It turns out this is not the first time that there has been a strong debate in Arlington about urban hen raising. Late in 1945, after the end of World War II, Arlington was preparing to reinstitute an urban chicken ban that had been dropped during the war. The renewed restrictions “drew public debate and strong views on both sides.” [Sun Gazette]
Republican Running for Moran’s Seat — Republican Micah Edmond says he’s planning to run for the Congressional seat of the retiring Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.). Edmond has previously worked in banking, defense policy and as a Marine Corps officer. [National Review]
Pyzyk Poached by Arlington County — ARLnow.com freelance reporter Katie Pyzyk has accepted a full-time position with Arlington County. Pyzyk, who joined us in 2011 and who holds the crown for our most-viewed story of all time, will be a spokeswoman for the Dept. of Community Planning, Housing and Development. We wish Katie the all best in her new position.
ARLbiz will be published weekly and will be geared toward local entrepreneurs and business professionals. It will provide concise original reporting on local business matters and links to other outlets’ Arlington-related business articles, all in one place.
There will also be weekly commentary from local business, nonprofit and government leaders.
“Despite the recent slowdown in the commercial real estate market, Arlington remains a thriving business center,” said Scott Brodbeck, publisher of ARLnow.com. “We’re looking forward to launching an editorially-independent business publication that focuses only on Arlington, bringing vital business intelligence to local business owners and professionals.”
ARLbiz will be published only as an email newsletter, starting in January 2014. Subscriptions are free. To subscribe now, use the form below or click this link.
(All fields are required.)
There’s a new addition to our Arlington real estate section.
Our technology partners are still working out a couple of kinks (for instance, the 12-month view of price decreases appears to have incomplete data) but for the most part the page provides an interesting and useful look at market trends by analyzing real estate listings in the county.
According to current listings, the average price for a home in Arlington is $695,155, while the median price is $549,900. The number of listings is on a seasonal downswing, as is average price per square foot.
Among neighborhoods indexed in the listings, Rock Spring has the highest average sale price ($1,524,500) while Columbia Heights West had the lowest ($225,493).
Serving the Reston (Va.) community, Reston Now is helmed by Karen Goff, a long-time Reston resident who most recently worked as a local editor for Patch.com. Before transitioning to digital journalism, Goff was a feature writer and sports reporter for the Washington Times, and a metro reporter for the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel.
“I am so excited to work with Local News Now,” Goff said. “In my more than three years with Patch I learned how valuable hyperlocal news is to communities. Reston has really embraced online, up-to-the-minute news, and working with a locally-owned company will give residents the voice and outlet they need.”
“Reston deserves a local news source that’s focused solely on what’s going on Reston,” said Scott Brodbeck, founder of Local News Now. “We’ll be reporting on the stories that impact the daily lives of Reston residents — everything from restaurant openings to local government, development, schools, crime and the Silver Line.”
As a local, independent online news publisher, Local News Now is devoted to building a sustainable future for local journalism in the D.C. area. We believe in quality coverage of local communities by talented local journalists, supported by affordable, effective advertising and marketing services for local businesses and organizations.
Ethan Rothstein comes to ARLnow.com from Leesburg Today, a weekly newspaper in Leesburg, where he covered the Town of Leesburg and high school sports. He has broken stories on controversial developments, investigated local transit issues and covered elections from town council to the 2012 presidential campaign.
Previously, he covered education and sports for the Delaware Wave and Delaware Coast Press, based in Bethany Beach, Del. Ethan is a graduate of the University of Maryland’s Merrill School of Journalism, where he studied print journalism.
You might have already seen Ethan’s byline — his first day was July 1. Working alongside editor Scott Brodbeck in ARLnow.com’s Rosslyn office, Ethan is the site’s first full-time reporter. Katie Pyzyk will continue contributing to the site as a part-time reporter.
“This hire is an investment in community journalism in Arlington,” said Brodbeck, who is also the site’s publisher. “It will allow us to expand the breadth and depth of our news coverage.”
“While there are hundreds of local, independent online news websites across the country, ARLnow.com is one of the few that has the resources to hire full-time editorial staff while remaining profitable,” Brodbeck continued. “For that we thank our advertising clients and our tens of thousands of loyal readers.”
Update at 10:45 a.m. — The issue seems to be resolved. Thank you for your patience.
ARLnow.com is experiencing server problems this morning.
These problems are causing slow page loads and occasional site outages. Please bear with us as we work to resolve these problems.
We anticipate getting back up and running by 11:00 a.m.
The new background is part of a site-wide promotion for Ballston Green, a new luxury townhome community near Ballston. The new background will be in place for the rest of the week, after which time we’ll revert to the old background.
ARLnow.com might host similar marketing campaigns in the future, but we wanted to give readers a heads up on this one to answer any questions the changes might have prompted.
Like the current campaign, we’ll make sure the backgrounds used for future promotions are attractive and relatively unobtrusive.
We’re currently making some changes to the site. Please be patient as we work to improve your user experience. Some site features may not work today (Saturday).
If you continue to experience issues on Sunday, please email us at arlingtonnews[at]gmail.com and let us know what’s happening. Please provide as much detailed information as feasible.
The ARLnow.com Team
Each week, we’ll pick a new “Arlington Pet of the Week.” From dogs, cats, birds, fish and everything in between, the feature will include photos and an explanation of what makes that week’s pet so special. The owner of each Pet of the Week will receive a gift card to a local pet store, in addition to the recognition of just how awesome his or her pet is.
If you think your little guy should be a contender for Arlington Pet of the Week, email one or more photos of and a 2-3 paragraph write-up about your pet to email@example.com. Please also include your name and the neighborhood you live in. All material sent to ARLnow.com may be used for publication.
As we approach the new year, we have a sincere wish for 2013. We have noted with disappointment the increasingly negative tenor of some comments on the site, and we hope that in 2013 those commenting here keep in mind that while the people on this site may be using online aliases, they are our neighbors in this relatively tiny, 26 square mile county.
ARLnow.com staff has been doing our best to actively remove comments that contain personal insults, racially or ethnically insensitive remarks, or even vitriol directed at children who are part of a news story. We will continue to do so to make sure ARLnow.com is a safe place for a robust but respectful community discourse. We also hope that readers understand that the moderation of comments is an imperfect process, and refrain from cursing at or berating our staff who are making an honest effort to prevent discussions from degrading to the the level of discourse found on some other, popular news websites.
On a happier note, we expect to continue to expand the scope of our local coverage and our business operations in 2013. We owe a very big thank you to our readers and our clients for helping to make that happen.
Best wishes for a Merry Christmas. We’ll bring you three additional days of news coverage starting on Wednesday, before going on a brief New Years hiatus.
As with any web site redesign, there are bound to be some technical glitches. Here are the problems we’re aware of and working to fix:
- New user registration is not currently working
- The user profile edit page is still being tweaked
- The email newsletter subscription link at the bottom left doesn’t work
One change you’ll notice that is intentional is the removal of the crime map page. We hope you’ll continue to follow our weekly crime report posts for the most up-to-date listing of crimes in the area.
Please use the comment form on this article to let us know about any bugs you find as you browse the new site. We’ll add them to the list above and will work to resolve them as soon as possible. Please also let us know what you think of the redesign — good or bad.
Thank your for your continued readership and support of ARLnow.com.
Bethesda Now will provide the same standard of up-to-the-minute, original news coverage for Bethesda and Chevy Chase, Maryland that ARLnow.com provides for Arlington. The site will seek to report on important community issues, interesting local stories, and breaking news that impacts the daily lives of those who live and work in the area. Bethesda Now will exclusively focus on Bethesda, Chevy Chase and parts of Potomac — not on other parts of Montgomery County.
BethesdaNow.com is up and running now, but we’re only just getting started. Readers can expect even more news, reported for and by Bethesda area residents, in the coming months. Plus, both ARLnow.com and BethesdaNow.com will be undergoing a site redesign this fall.
For the month ending Friday, May 4, ARLnow.com readers viewed a total of 1,000,721 pages on the site, excluding the new real estate section. That’s the first time the monthly pageview count has exceeded 1,000,000 since we launched in January 2010.
ARLnow.com thanks our loyal readers for helping to propel us to web traffic statistics not typically seen for a “hyperlocal” website focused exclusively on a single community. We look forward to continuing to serve you and our advertisers for years to come.
ARLnow.com is an independent, locally-owned news website serving more than 125,000 unique visitors per month.* Our original journalism and photojournalism is produced by Arlington residents, often with the help of emails and anonymous tips from the community.
* Directly-measured web traffic statistics provided by Google Analytics