Busy Weekend for ACFD — The Arlington County Fire Department responded to a couple of big fires over the weekend. Two firefighters were injured while battling an apartment fire on the 5500 block of Columbia Pike; a resident tells ARLnow.com that the fire started when a resident fell asleep while cooking. Also on Saturday, Arlington firefighters assisted on a mutual aid call to battle a raging inferno at a McLean mansion owned by the United Arab Emirates. [WUSA 9, Connection Newspapers]
Carpool Bartender Profiled — “In an era where craft cocktails, celebrity chefs and ‘artisanal’ everything dominate the D.C. dining scene, it’s hard to find a watering hole where comfort comes in the form of a bottle of Bud, a basket of onion rings and a bartender who knows your name. But at Carpool in Arlington, Virginia, that is exactly what’s on the menu — at least for a few more weeks.” [WTOP]
County Board Pay Raise Proposed — The Arlington County Board this weekend will consider a proposal to raise its own pay by 3.5 percent. That would bring the salary for the County Board chairman to $56,628 and the salary for County Board members to $51,480. [Arlington County]
School Board Pay Raise Bill — The Virginia General Assembly has approved a bill that would lift the state-imposed $25,000 salary cap on Arlington School Board members. If Gov. Terry McAuliffe signs the legislation, School Board members will be able to raise their pay in 2021. [InsideNova]
Police Impound Lot Changes — The Arlington County Police Department has updated its procedures for people retrieving vehicles from the impound lot in Shirlington. [Arlington County]
Remembering Steve Buttry — Journalist Steve Buttry has lost his battle with pancreatic cancer at the age of 62. As Director of Community Engagement for TBD.com in 2010, Buttry had an outsized influence on ARLnow.com in its early days. He was a champion of local news and a tireless “advocate for and teacher of digital journalism and media innovation.” [The Buttry Diary]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
But, if you’re so inclined, feel free to vote for ARLnow.com in TBD’s #DCjournotweeps competition, which seeks to rank “the best journalists using Twitter in their coverage of local news.”
We are in the esteemed company of such local notables as the Washington Business Journal’s Missy Frederick and Sarah Krouse, WTOP’s Neal Augenstein and Adam Tuss, and DCist’s Martin Austermuhl and Aaron Morrissey. It’s tough competition, but let’s at least not finish last.
Also, if you’re not already following us on Twitter, do so now for exclusive breaking news updates, traffic alerts and occasional behind-the-scenes tidbits.
Cooper joined TBD last July, a month before the site launched. She was formerly a contributor to DCist.com and a reporter for a Long Island newspaper. No word yet on her future plans.
TBD is in the midst of layoffs and will likely not replace Cooper or her Arlington coverage.
The layoffs are part of a reorganization that will shift TBD’s mission from being a primarily news-oriented site to exclusively arts and entertainment-oriented site.
TBD’s corporate sister, television station WJLA (ABC 7), will eventually relaunch WJLA.com as a separate, news-oriented web site. (WJLA.com was replaced by TBD after its launch.)
On a personal note, it was a pleasure working alongside Rebecca, who was a total pro and brought an unrivaled depth to her Arlington reporting. Whatever she does next, we hope she stays here in Imperfect Arlington.
(Updated at 1:20 p.m.) Once upon a time, there was a dream of local news organization that would act less as a walled castle and more as a town square. Instead of competing, it would partner. Instead of talking at, it would talk with.
This news organization would act as a hub of a local news ecosystem, a gateway through which a regional audience could be introduced to the work of independent local journalists and community blogs.
On Feb. 23, 2011, the dream died.
Rosslyn-based TBD.com is planning to lay off most of its staff, according to the Washington Business Journal. All of the site’s sports and news reporters will be let go, according to We Love DC. Among the jobs expected to be eliminated is TBD’s Arlington community reporter position, held by Rebecca A. Cooper.
Instead of reporting news, TBD will now become a niche arts and entertainment site, according to the Washington City Paper.
Two weeks ago it was revealed that TBD, which had been in operation for about six months, was to be taken over by the management of its corporate sibling, WJLA-TV (ABC 7). WJLA.com, which currently redirects to TBD, will eventually regain its status as an independently-run news web site. Some of TBD’s staff will get jobs running WJLA.com, according to the Washington Post.
The management of TBD will be taken over by its corporate sibling, television station WJLA (ABC 7), the Washington Post reported today. Station Manager Bill Lord will now oversee TBD’s operations, according to the Post. WJLA.com, which has merely redirected to TBD.com for the past six months, will be run as a separate web site. No staffing changes are planned at TBD.
WJLA and TBD are both owned by Allbritton Communications and operated out of the Allbritton offices at 1100 Wilson Boulevard.
The change comes three months after TBD founder Jim Brady left the site, citing differences with company CEO Robert Allbritton and culture clashes with personnel at WJLA. TBD Managing Editor Paul Volpe left the site two weeks ago for the New York Times.
Keen observers of local media may have noticed that TBD’s Rebecca Cooper, who represents one-third of Arlington’s full-time reporting corps along with ARLnow.com and the Sun Gazette, has been posting fewer Arlington articles as of late — including only one so far this week. But TBD Editor-in-Chief Erik Wemple says that’s because she’s on vacation.
“No conspiracy here,” Wemple wrote via email. He also said that TBD’s Arlington coverage will continue.
An internal source tells ARLnow.com that TBD staff have attended a number of meetings over the past week or two about the direction of the site, and that some new features may be in the works.
At the same time, however, there has been a noticeable drop in the number of stories aggregated on TBD’s home page in the past month. The site has a feature that allows you to plug in a zip code and get headlines from other local web sites. At least for Arlington zip codes, that list is now only sporadically updated.
Disclosure: ARLnow.com was the first web site to join as a member of TBD’s “Community Network” of local web sites. We still maintain that relationship.
Flickr pool photo by BrianMKA
The full-time Arlington press corps is growing by 50 percent. Rebecca A. Cooper has just been named the Arlington neighborhood reporter for the forthcoming TBD.com.
“I’m thrilled!” Cooper told ARLnow.com. “Arlington has been my home for almost four years, and I’m always discovering new niches and quirks about the place. The area certainly has been crying out for some more coverage, and I’m excited to start adding to what’s already out there.”
Cooper will begin reporting on Arlington when TBD launches. The launch date is, well, TBD, but we’re thinking “by the end of summer” seems like a decent guess.
TBD, owned by Allbritton Communications and helmed by former washingtonpost.com executive editor Jim Brady, will be both a web site, which will replace the current web sites of ABC7 and NewsChannel8, and a TV channel, which will replace the current format of NewsChannel8.
Cooper joins Scott McCaffrey and this guy on the full-time Arlington beat. Other reporters who regularly cover Arlington as part of a wider beat include the Washington Post’s Christy Goodman, WAMU’s David Schultz, the Washington Examiner’s Markham Heid and Connection Newspapers’ Delia Sava and Michael Lee Pope.
Prior to joining TBD, Cooper worked as a staff writer for DCist.com, covering mostly food, drink and culture. Her resume also includes three years as a community reporter on Long Island.
It’s worth noting that Cooper is the second DCist staffer to defect for TBD. Former DCist editor Sommer Mathis joined TBD in June.
Confirming rumors that have been swirling for months on DCRTV, long-time WRC (NBC 4) meteorologist Bob Ryan is officially joining his friend Doug Hill at Rosslyn-based WJLA (ABC 7).
Ryan left WRC two months ago after failing to agree to a new contract. If the experience of other on-air talent at the station is any guide, the contract proposed by WRC management may have included a pay cut.
Starting today, Ryan will appear on WJLA’s 11:00 p.m. newscasts, while Hill will remain on air at 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. They will appear together during severe weather events, according to the Washington Post’s Paul Farhi.
Ryan will also actively contribute to the weather section of TBD.com, the local news venture being launched by WJLA parent company Allbritton Communications. ARLnow.com has announced a partnership with TBD.
It will be exciting to see what kind of weather content Ryan will be able to create online. Bob’s mind is a treasure trove of meteorological facts and insights, a fraction of which makes it on air (even during his eternity-in-television 5- or 6-minute weather hits).
Ryan did not have the creative freedom he wanted to create and maintain a weather-focused website at WRC. Now, he has a blank slate with which to work at TBD. Expect great things.
I think this is a smart move and I wish my former WRC colleague well. It will be some fun viewing when Hill and Ryan team up to cover the next severe thunderstorm outbreak.
I’m very proud to announce tonight that ARLnow.com is the first site to partner with new D.C. local news site TBD.com.
TBD is helmed by former washingtonpost.com executive editor Jim Brady and backed by Allbritton Communications, parent company of ABC7, NewsChannel 8 and Politico. We’re excited to be working with Jim and his team, including Erik Wemple, Steve Buttry, Jeff Sonderman, Lisa Rowan, Julie Westfall, Steve Chaggaris and Mandy Jenkins (who did I forget?).
TBD is a completely new approach to local news. With a staff of about 50, TBD will be a primarily web-based and social media-centric news organization with a complementary TV operation, the exact details of which are yet to be revealed.
In addition to original reporting, a large part of TBD’s strategy will be linking to content from partner sites. Along with ARLnow.com, TBD expects to announce partnerships with a number of local blogs and web sites in the coming weeks. TBD will also help partner sites sell advertising space.
Teaming up with TBD will open up a larger, more regional audience for ARLnow.com’s timely original news and features, and will be an important component of our effort to make the site financially self-sustaining.