The Progress slims down

It seems like only yesterday that the Daily Progress unveiled a much heralded redesign, complete with an insert to help readers fully appreciate the enormity of the changes. But that was January 20, 2003, and ever one to keep up with journalistic fashions, the DP has changed its look again.

The first issue of the new and improved Progress (right) hit the newsstands November 13. Gone is the blue border that seemed so fresh, so...USA Today in 2003. Darker now is the "What's Next" column, its subheads more somber sans the blue. The date bears a funereal black band, as if to say, the party's over, kids. And yet, the revamped Progress is not all sober black and white: playful pink-and-blue teaser boxes atop the masthead tempt the reader to peek at "Pupils learn about Jefferson."

Most subtle is the DP's trimmer look, a good half-inch narrower. Newspaper readership may be shrinking, but the feisty Progress shows us that it can shrink, too.


Having grown up reading the Washington Star and Post, I wouldn't expect the daily in Charlottesville to be too impressive. The Progress underwhelms in all areas, though they do cover high school sports fairly well much (though not all) of the time. Their columnists are deeply in love with UVA, and the paper rarely criticizes that institution. The editorial perspective is laughable - certainly waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay out of line with the people of Charlottesville. They try (lamely, at that) to influence, rather than reflect local thought. Worst of all, too many of their "news" articles are barely-veiled promotional pieces for local businesses.

That said, I read it every it's free. If they ever start charging, I certainly won't waste my money for the 5 minutes I spend each day on their site. We will continue buying in on Sunday, however, for the coupons. LOVE those coupons.

If you want local news, just set up a gmail account and enter local place names as news alerts. You'll get the news before the Progress gets it to you.

Whoopty-damn-doo! If they reduced the price to something more in line with the value delivered - from 50 cents to, say, 5 or 10 cents a paper - that might be news. I think this town would be just fine with the two weeklies, the radio/TV news and the online blogs. If someone really needs a newspaper in the morning, might as well just distribute the Times Dispatch around here.

5 cents...sounds a bit steep. Maybe just for the Sunday edition.

Holy mackerel... I can taste the bitterness in that post from here. For the number of times you guys take a dig at the Progress, you would think the Hook put out some stellar journalism that covered all the bases. Not so true. You guys were great at covering that specific cat-shooting incident, but if I want to know what's going on in local governments, etc., I'm still reading the Progress. I prefer The Hook to Cville Weekly, but the self-righteousness on this page is just getting to be too much. I've worked in journalism in the past, and it's always frustrated me how easily people complain about the local newspaper without any understanding for what work goes into it -- dailies are tough work, but necessary to a community.

The DP's editorials? Those I could do without. ha ha.

I had my own thoughts on the redesign, which I posted on my blog nearly simultaneously to The Hook's take on it: It's an exercise in early 1970s nostalgia and a yearning for the days of hot type, "stop the presses," and hard drinking journos on the police beat.

Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur, call your agents. It's time for Live Arts to resurrect The Front Page.

Can the Times-Dispatch tell me about the growth in Crozet? Or the dual-enrollment program that PVCC has with local high schools? There is a reason for the falling readership and thus the narrower DP - the increased reliance on TV news and blogging these days. It's funny - I see stories on the news that I read in the Progress two or three days before. It seems the TV people still read the paper. The daily still has a niche, if you all allow room for one.

And what kind of political coverage did Cville and the Hook provide for the elections? If you want a Rolling Stone version of the news, check out the weeklies.

Most of what's in the Progress is nearly two days old by the time it reaches the paperbox. National and entertainment news that appears online on, say, a Wednesday, might not appear in the Progress until the weekend.

Despite the need for local news, and with all respect to the previous posters, the Progress may fuflill a need -- but it just doesn't do a very good job of it. Most local news articles in the DP raise more questions than they answer. They have sone or two seasone4d journalists who are prsumably happing being (relatively) big fish in a small pond, but the balance of the staff is young and ludicrously underpaid -- as anyone remotely familiar with Media General already knows. DP reporters grab a year of experience and 2-3 good clips, then try to move on. Or they quit the craft altogether, disillusioned...and broke.

$10 certificates for frozen turkeys as a holiday bonus? That's the Media General way of reqwarding workers with a phuque-you-very-much every December. If they are lucky.

Ribald wrote "Despite the need for local news, and with all respect to the previous posters, the Progress may fuflill a need � but it just doesn't do a very good job of it."

I agree with you 100%. There IS a need for local news (as opposed to "news"), it just isn't being met by the Progress.

I am frightened, however, to think that there are indeed some people who are probably getting their national and world news from the Progress. I used to receive both the Progress and the Washington Post, and I can't count the number of times I'd read a wire story in the Post, and then see a badly truncated version of the same article in the Progress, simply cut off at some random point to fit the given space. Never mind if the content that followed was necessary to the story. Amazing.

I agree that the condescending tone of the Hook in it's Daily Progress announcement is over-inflated. The Hook does an adequate job, and decidedly more colorful than the Daily Progress, but I hope they don't fame themselves at providing comprehensive reporting. There are areas in which they, too, fall very short.

Newspapers cracking on each other is a tradition as old as the printed word. It's usually condescending, often sarcastic, and will never end. It's like the trash talking that occurs between athletes - usually taken seriously only by those to whom it isn't directed.

Whatever their attitude toward the Progress (and really, it comes down to competition for advertising revenue) The Hook in tone and content is far and away superior to the C-Ville Weekly, where the editors and staff are so obsessed with affecting a hipster air that they have long since descended into self parody. Reading C-ville Weekly is a laff riot, although the hilarity is entirely unintentional. And no, I was not paid by the Hook to write that. ;-}