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.
Pupatella Expanding to Richmond — Beloved Bluemont pizzeria Pupatella is expanding via franchising. One of the first places getting new Pupatellas: Richmond, where a local franchisee is opening four new locations. [Richmond Times-Dispatch]
McAuliffe to Talk Self-Driving Cars in Arlington — On Thursday, Gov. Terry McAuliffe will be in Arlington to “give remarks at [a] workshop hosted by the Secretary of Transportation on autonomous vehicles,” according to the governor’s public schedule. The workshop is taking place at 1776 in Crystal City (2231 Crystal Drive).
People Are Increasingly Leaving the D.C. Region — All of the D.C. region’s population growth in the latest U.S. Census estimates were from births and international immigration. The region’s domestic migration is negative and increasingly so, with more people moving from D.C. than to D.C. Writes the WBJ: “The challenge for Greater Washington is there are other metro areas that offer jobs and high quality of life, and are also far less expensive — driving people away for what they see as greener pastures.” [Washington Business Journal]
Does Our Site Seem Faster? — We were working Saturday, moving ARLnow and our sister site Reston Now to a powerful cloud-based server from a traditional dedicated server. Things should be faster today, but if you notice any glitches please let us know. [Twitter]
Photo courtesy Erinn Shirley
Icy Saturday Morning — Several crashes were reported around Arlington Saturday as freezing rain turned roads and sidewalks into sheets of ice. The slippery conditions lasted for most of the morning, before a warm-up started melting the ice around lunchtime. [Storify]
Wreaths Laid at ANC — Despite the icy weather, tens of thousands of volunteers helped to lay 245,000 wreaths on grave sites at Arlington National Cemetery Saturday morning. Arlington County Police assisted with crowd control for the annual Christmastime event. [WTOP, The Blaze, Twitter]
Students, School Board Speak Out on Boundary Changes — At last week’s Arlington School Board meeting, students spoke in opposition to high school boundary changes some see as furthering racial segregation. School Board members, however, defended their recent boundary change vote. [Washington Post, InsideNova, YouTube]
Borderstan Closes, Editor Coming to ARLnow — Borderstan, ARLnow.com’s sister site that covers the mid-city neighborhoods of D.C., is shutting down at the end of the week. One of its co-editors, Tim Regan, will be joining the ARLnow team in January. [Borderstan, Washingtonian]
Photo courtesy Becca Collins
No need to protest outside of our office, it’s not our fault, but ARLnow.com’s comment system is down.
Disqus, the our third-party comment system provider, is among the companies affected by a massive distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack today, which is mostly affecting internet users on the East Coast.
Twitter — and thus our popular Twitter account — is also having issues.
We apologize for the inconvenience and hope that the internet tubes get unclogged soon.
Update at 5:15 p.m. — Looks like we’ve been back up for a little while, but there’s always a possibility of additional intermittent issues.