On Jan. 29, 2010, ARLnow.com launched with an inauspicious post that basically no one except the family and friends of the site’s owner read. It was followed by a post about 2-4 inches of snow in the forecast.
Ten years later, despite major challenges in the local news biz, this site is still around. A quarter million people read it each month. We have a dedicated, full-time team; a newly-formed alumni group; a long list of fantastic advertising clients (thank you for supporting local journalism!); and an office in a Ballston high-rise complete with a mini fridge stocked with Diet Coke and a granola bar drawer.
Yes, we’ve come a long way in the past 10 years. And we’re looking forward to the next 10.
To celebrate, ARLnow is pleased to invite everyone who lives or works in Arlington, or just is a fan of the site, to join us at Bronson Bierhall (4100 Fairfax Drive) on Wednesday, Jan. 29 from 5-7 p.m. for a free happy hour event.
We’ll have local beer flights and a special Arlington cocktail available for purchase, local movers and shakers, and the entire ARLnow team on hand. Meet your neighbors, local notables, and maybe even an ARLnow commenter or two. Also: we’ll have 10th Anniversary cups for the first 100 people to arrive.
Please RSVP via Facebook so we can better estimate a guest count. See you there!
An ARLnow reporter is leaving but a familiar face and a new intern will be joining the team in January.
ARLnow’s Kalina Newman is leaving to pursue a new career in organized labor as the Press Secretary for the AFL-CIO. Her last day is today.
“I’ve been extraordinarily grateful for the opportunity to come back and write for ARLnow,” Newman said. “As someone who grew up in Arlington, it’s been surreal graduating from journalism school and jumping right into reporting on the community I know best. It’s no secret the media landscape is shifting, for better or for worse — and now more than ever, local journalism matters.”
“Leaving ARLnow, I cannot stress enough how much the readership has meant to me,” she continued. “To everyone who has clicked, shared, commented, and lit up in person when I’ve mentioned the site, thank you. I’m excited to transfer my skills to the labor movement, but you haven’t seen the last of me — I just signed a lease for an apartment in Ballston, and can now properly join the ranks of ARLnow commenters. Username suggestions appreciated.”
Separately, ARLnow’s new sister site ALXnow announced today that it has hired James Cullum, an experienced local journalist, to join the site’s reporting team and expand its coverage of Alexandria. That will in turn allow Vernon Miles to split his time between between ARLnow and ALXnow, so expect a return of Vernon’s bylines in the new year.
ARLnow also will be adding a part-time spring semester intern later in January. Shreeya Aranake, a GW student who originally hails from Silicon Valley, will join the ARLnow team for three days a week later in the month. Finally, Ashley Hopko, who primarily reports for our Tysons Reporter and Reston Now sister sites, will be occasionally contributing to ARLnow.
ARLnow’s mission is to connect and improve our local community — residents, workers, local businesses, nonprofits and government — via high quality, original journalism and photography.
In addition to our own reporting, we seek to fulfil our mission via contributions from community members. As part of that, we’re debuting a new slate of opinion columns, focused on specific local topics, starting Monday. These columns will alternate every other week with our existing columns: Progressive Voice, The Right Note, Peter’s Take, and What’s Next With Nicole.
Here’s the slate:
Mondays: Making Room by Jane Green, covering housing-related issues in Arlington. Jane is a proud renter in Pentagon City who by day works for Greater Greater Washington and by night tries to navigate the complexities of the Arlington Way.
Tuesdays: Community Matters by Krysta Jones, discussing community engagement and inclusivity in Arlington. Krysta has lived in Arlington since 2004 and is active in local politics and civic life. She has also previously written for the Progressive Voice column on ARLnow.
Wednesdays: Modern Mobility by Chris Slatt, examining transportation and transit matters in the county. Chris is the current Chair of the Arlington County Transportation Commission, Founder of Sustainable Mobility for Arlington County and a former civic association president.
Thursdays: The Hurtt Locker by Matthew Hurtt, which will shine a light on issues related to local government transparency and fiscal responsibility. Matthew is a 10-year Arlington resident, a member of the Arlington Heights Civic Association and was previously the chairman of the Arlington Falls Church Young Republicans.
Fridays: Ed Talks by Abby Raphael and Maura McMahon, tracking education-related issues in Arlington. Abby served on the Arlington School Board from 2008-2015, including two terms as Chair, among other local leadership roles. Maura is a mother of two who currently serves as president of the Arlington County Council of PTAs.
It should be noted that for all of our columnists, they are uncompensated and the local perspectives they bring are their own and not their employer’s. Our columnists commit their time to bring the Arlington community new ideas, to highlight important local issues, and to start community conversations.
Please join us in welcoming them!
At long last, ARLnow is getting a sister site in Alexandria.
ALXnow — feel free to call it “Alexandria Now” — will launch on Tuesday, Oct. 1, after six years of *almost* deciding to launch in the city to Arlington’s south. (Check out the “joined” date on the @AlexandriaNow Twitter account.)
As Washingtonian reported yesterday, ALXnow will, like ARLnow, offer “high-tempo online coverage” of “a mix of news about local government, transportation, restaurant openings, and the culture of the neighborhoods it serves.”
That’s in addition to our up-to-the-second breaking news coverage.
Our team is looking forward to providing a fresh look at Alexandria, with more immediate, online-only coverage that is intended for all who live, work or follow happenings in the city. Whether you rent an apartment in Old Town, own a house in the West End, work along Eisenhower Avenue or frequently visit Del Ray, we will be providing coverage that’s relevant and interesting to you.
ARLnow.com has set a new 30-day readership record.
From June 25-July 24, more than 400,000 unique users visited the local news site, viewing 1.41 million pages, according to Google Analytics. The average unique user, as measured by Google Analytics, read 3.5 pages during the month, though those returning 15 or more times throughout the month accounted for more than half of ARLnow’s pageviews.
The readership figures are the highest recorded since ARLnow launched in January 2010.
“The ARLnow team is immensely proud of the local journalism we’ve been producing this year — from comprehensive storm coverage to dogged local government reporting to longer-form, investigative pieces — and this new record serves as validation that those efforts are paying off,” said ARLnow founder Scott Brodbeck. “Arlington is a fantastic community, with civically-engaged residents and commuters who care about the community they work in. Thank you to all of our readers who helped make this new record possible.”
ARLnow and its parent company, Local News Now, are also announcing the hiring of three new members of our team.
Ashley Hopko joined the company last month as an Editorial Fellow. A 2019 graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder’s journalism program, Hopko previously worked for Law Week Colorado and the student-led News21 investigative project. She is primarily reporting for Local News Now’s Tysons Reporter site, alongside editor Catherine Douglas Moran, but Hopko is also contributing to ARLnow.
Lene Query joined our company’s business team in May as an Account Executive, alongside Content Manager Turquoise Jackson. Bringing five years of retail and restaurant experience to the job, Lene (pronounced like “Layna”) is now the primary contact for clients seeking to place advertising on ARLnow or our other sites. She can be reached at [email protected] or 703-348-0583.
Jay Westcott will be joining us in September as our first full-time photojournalist. Jay’s 15 years of professional photography experience — he previously worked locally for TBD.com, Politico and the Washington Examiner — will help bring a new visual language to our local news sites and enhance our breaking news coverage. He will also produce video for certain projects.
The new hires will bring Local News Now’s full-time staff count to eight — made possible by our loyal advertisers and patrons, and our hard-working business team. Jordan Ciminelli, who led our business team since September 2017 and played a pivotal role in training and operations, departed earlier this month to join a new venture.
“At a time when local news is facing business model struggles around the country, thanks to our dedicated readers, advertising clients and employees, we’re able to grow as an organization,” said Brodbeck. “Our growth over the last decade has been slow compared to some of the local startups we’ve profiled over the years, but being the proverbial local news tortoise — with a commitment to quality journalism, business innovation and customer service — has allowed us to continue to find success.”
But in response to reader feedback we’re seeking to broaden our coverage, and thus need some outside help, particularly with feature articles that explore local topics in-depth but are not the kind of topical, of-the-moment news that our staff usually covers.
If you’re a local freelancer who knows Arlington well, we’d like to hear from you. Please fill out the form below and we may get in touch. (We also are looking for freelancers to help out with sponsored articles.)
If you’re a reader and you like the idea of more feature articles and investigations, please join our Patreon community, which is funding this new effort. Currently we can commission two articles per month, but with your help we can do more.
Hurricane Prompts Influx of Shelter Dogs from N.C. — “Dogs, cats and kittens were all transported from shelters ahead of the now Category 2 Hurricane Florence. They arrived… in Arlington Wednesday. Six dogs and two cats arrived from Hertford County, NC. Two dogs were adopted on-site. A total of 38 dogs and seven cats arrived from Florence County, SC. In total, 53 animals are now safe and sound in the D.C. area.” [WUSA 9]
PAC Raising Money for Female Candidates — Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol is among those expected to attend a “kick-off fundraiser” tonight for Brass Ovaries PAC, which raises money for first-time, female candidates for public office. [Tysons Reporter]
How to Pronounce ARLnow — FYI: the name of this site is pronounced “A-R-L now,” not “Ahrrrl now.” [Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by Jeff Sonderman
The team behind ARLnow has a mission: to make local news more interesting, engaging and actionable for a new generation of digital-first news consumers in Arlington and in other dynamic, live-work communities.
In support of that mission, we’ve been getting ready to launch a new site for Tysons, McLean and Vienna later this month. But we’ve had a major setback and need to ask for your help to overcome it.
Last month we went to download a list of nearly 3,000 subscribers who had signed up via a Facebook ad that had been running since late spring. Our launch strategy was predicated on growing an initial subscriber base, primarily via a large investment in Facebook ads, and we had promised our advertisers that the site would launch with at least 3,000 subscribers.
To our dismay, only around 1,600 email addresses were included in the file we downloaded. Upon further research, we discovered that Facebook has a policy — not revealed when placing the ad — to only store subscriber email addresses for 90 days.
There were no notifications prior to almost half of our subscribers being purged and Facebook has refused to refund our money, restore the deleted email addresses or do anything, other than recommend that we submit a comment in a suggestion box for the ads product team. Even attempts to escalate the matter via Facebook’s local news outreach team were unsuccessful. A new ad campaign we tried to launch turned out to be prohibitively more expensive than the original.
So here we are, two weeks away from the launch of Tysons Reporter and there are 1,400 people who think they’ve subscribed to a new local news site but have no idea that they’ll never hear from us.
With the viability of Tysons Reporter and the future of our company on the line, we are now turning to our only hope to fix this mess: you.
Please, share this post on social media (yes, even on Facebook). Email people you know in Tysons, McLean and Vienna who might have subscribed. Tell Facebook to do a better job of serving its small business clients and supporting local news.
If you’ve signed up for Tysons Reporter via Facebook, please use the form below (or via this link) to re-subscribe. If you haven’t subscribed but want to, you can also use the form below.
Starting in early 2018, ARLnow plans to create a new position of Morning Editor and Enterprise Reporter. The individual hired for this position will be responsible for executing key editorial strategies around email and memberships for our growing operation.
The job duties include:
- Researching and writing our daily Morning Notes post, which links to local stories aggregated from social media and other news outlets.
- Writing a new morning email, published daily at 7 a.m., that provides readers with a concise, informative and uplifting daily briefing of local news, events and other happenings in Arlington.
- Assisting with social media engagement on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
- Enterprise local news reporting, including scoop-driven coverage of local government, cops and courts. The reporter will primarily work out of Arlington County government headquarters, the first beat reporter based there in more than a decade, and will focus on publishing one impactful article per day.
We are looking for a hungry, self-motivated journalist who…
- …cares deeply about local issues.
- …builds relationships and doggedly pursues scoops.
- …is empathetic and knows how to connect with an audience.
- …has at least 2-4 years of professional news reporting experience.
- …writes clean, compelling copy and effectively self-edits and self-fact checks.
This position offers competitive compensation, health insurance, 401(k) and holidays off.
To apply, send a resume and links to some of your work to: [email protected]. Note any experience you have with WordPress, Mailchimp and Adobe Creative Suite. No recruiters, please.
RIP Bill Bozman — “He was ‘one of the community’s greats,’ in the words of former state Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple, and while the death of William Bozman was not unexpected, it still created a ripple of emotional outpouring from several generations of Arlington civic leaders who had relied on him for counsel and good humor.” [InsideNova]
Library Director’s Annual Xmas Playlist — Arlington Public Library Director Diane Kresh has released the 2017 version of her annual holiday music playlist. [Arlington Public Library]
ARL Sticker Opportunity — If you missed out on the the first batch of free ARL stickers, there is another opportunity to get your hands on some. We’ll be bringing the stickers to Thursday’s Speakeasy Evening With Dr. Rixey, which is happening from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the The Rixey apartments in Ballston (1008 N. Glebe Road). Register for the free event, which features local art, live jazz, gin cocktails and great rooftop views, here.
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
ARLnow is rolling out breaking new alerts for our email subscribers.
In this era of social media noise, sometimes it’s hard for important local stories to break through right away. So we’re giving readers an option to make sure breaking stories land in their email inbox ASAP.
Starting tomorrow, ARLnow will be sending breaking news alerts via email when we publish a breaking story. Typically, there are only a few such articles each month.
If you’re an existing email subscriber, you’ll get the alerts automatically unless you opt out by updating your subscription preferences. If you’re one of our nearly 40,000 Twitter subscribers or 23,000 Facebook fans, consider subscribing (below) so you don’t miss a headline and don’t have to wait for the algorithm to catch up when big local news breaks.