Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

DC's Current Newspapers introduce weekly e-letter

Northwest Current vending rack at the Van Ness Metro Station.  

DC's Current Newspapers are published in the Northwest Quadrant of the city in four editions: Northwest Current; Georgetown Current; Dupont Current; and Foggy Bottom Current.

Interestingly, years ago the publisher owned of the Gazette Newspapers in Montgomery and Prince George's Counties which are now owned by the Washington Post.  At one time Current also published Voice of the Hill, which they acquired from the Robey Family, but with the onset of the recession and the strong advertising base of the Hill Rag, they couldn't compete, and they shut down that paper.

As the Washington Post (and the Washington Times) cuts its coverage of local affairs, the Current is the best media source on planning, zoning, and transportation issues within its coverage area.  (Although the Washington City Paper still throws its weight around on local politics and development despite some past financial problems.)

The Current has been criticized for not having a full-blown web edition, but they believe that offering such a product would undercut their ability to sell ads to local businesses--it's no surprise that they distribute in areas of the city with the most pronounced base of local businesses.

In fact, I've argued with the publisher about the "need" to distribute more copies east of Georgia Avenue, and to have newspaper boxes at Metro Stations in the eastern part of the Upper Northwest like they do in the western section.  He's been pretty adamant that there isn't enough of a merchant base to push the spread of the paper east.  Hopefully, as this part of the city adds population and retailers (although chain businesses tend to not advertise in community papers) that could change.

Without the Current Newspapers, plus the Gazette and the Connection Papers in Northern Virginia (the Post also does the Fairfax County Times), supplemented by papers like Hill Rag, the metropolitan area would lack coverage of vital planning, development, and zoning matters.

I was pleased to learn that this week, the Current has added a weekly e-letter to its communication activities.  I highly suggest subscribing so that you know what they are covering.

And while the web and blogs like this one are valuable in adding news and commentary outlets to community communications and media, print media generally is read by more people and for a longer period of time than sites on the web.

Because reading local media tracks with knowledge about and engagement in local civic affairs, community media is especially important.

-- "4 Ways Community Newspapers Get Audience Engagement Right," Recruitment Advisor
-- "," Newspaper Association of America
-- "Websites and Engagement," Knight Digital Media Center
-- I Heart Newspapers

Here's the inaugural edition of the e-letter:

Inline image 1
Pick up your local edition of The Current today for these and other stories: 

  • The National Capital Planning Commission is recommending no change in the federal law governing building heights in the District. (all editions)
  • The D.C. Court of Appeals has ordered further review of parts of the American University campus plan. (Northwest Current) 
  • Residents wishing to weigh in on the proposed D.C. zoning rewrite can continue to submit written testimony, as hearings continue on parking. (all editions)
  • A rarely available tavern license is up for grabs in Georgetown, and Gypsy Sally’s is first in line for it. (Georgetown Current, Dupont Current) 
  • Glover Park's Good Guys strip club is facing a challenge to its liquor license renewal from residents who want to eliminate daytime nude dancing. (Georgetown Current)
  • Six declared Democratic candidates for mayor debated for the first time last Wednesday. (all editions)
  • The Cleveland Park advisory neighborhood commission voted unanimously Monday to support preserving the Connecticut Avenue service lane. (Northwest Current)
  • A pair of Glover Park advisory neighborhood commissioners want the city to abolish recent changes to Wisconsin Avenue's traffic lane configuration. (Northwest Current west, Georgetown Current, Dupont Current, Foggy Bottom Current)
  • Residents are calling for improvements to a stretch of Arkansas Avenue in 16th Street Heights after a young woman was struck by a speeding vehicle there. (Northwest Current east, Dupont Current)

  • Downtown's Franklin Park will undergo a major renovation in the next few years to better accommodate its wide range of visitors. (Dupont Current, Foggy Bottom Current)
  • A series of community meetings and resulting compromises have eased many neighbors' objections to a planned roof deck at the Carlyle Suites Hotel. (Dupont Current, Foggy Bottom Current)
  • With the holidays just around the corner, some local nonprofits are trying out new ways to draw attention to their causes. (all editions) 
  • The holidays are fast approaching, and a varied slate of theatrical performances, festivals and markets are on tap throughout Northwest. (all editions)
  • With a price tag of under $700,000, an renovated amenity-packed Brightwood home is a bargain. (all editions)
OPINION (all editions)
  • Editorial: The Zoning Commission should give residents more time to evaluate the proposed zoning rewrite. 
  • Editorial: D.C. officials made an excellent choice via an excellent process when it selected its Walter Reed master developer. 
  • Sherwood: With a chorus of apologies coming from every corner, perhaps a song is in order. 
SPORTS (Northwest Current, Georgetown Current)
  • St. John's football fell to DeMatha in Saturday's championship. 
  • Wilson girls volleyball nabbed the DCIAA title with Tuesday's win over H.D. Woodson. 
  • Two Georgetown Day seniors have signed letters of intent to play college sports. 
  • Crime report
  • Dispatches from local schools 
  • Advisory neighborhood commission reports and agendas
  • Reports from local citizens associations
  • Calendar of the week's events 
  • Classified ads and service directory
The Current is available in print today and will be posted online tomorrow at and To reach The Current with a news tip, correction, advertising inquiry, or other question or comment, email

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At 2:11 AM, Anonymous Current Newspapers said...

Thanks for the shoutout! Send an email to currentnewspapers (at) gmail (dot) com to register for the newsletter.

At 11:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How do you access this? Is it online? An email newsletter? As could be expected, no mention at all on the Current's placeholder web site.


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