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Community RVA Biz & Gov

CHPN: 12 months into 2018

It’s been 12 months since Vanessa, Jacob and I have taken reins of Church Hill People’s News. It’s been an interesting experience to say the least. We have a lot to learn and a lot that we’re working through. We’ve had successes and threats (unfortunately). Over the last year, we’ve met leaders, business owners, new neighbors and so many passionate people who love this neighborhood and this city. Our community is awesome and it’s been both an honor and a massive challenge to continue the legacy of this publication.

A lot of the feedback we’ve received from you has been positive. Sure, there’s been some important discussion about tone and our role in mediating conversations. We haven’t always gotten it right. We’ve been reminded many times about how things were run differently with founder, John M., but ultimately we’re confident that, despite a few misses, we’re maintaining this free resource with the goal to unite our community.

I wanted to take a moment to talk about the site and what we’d like to do with it.

Some Background

As you know, CHPN is not a newspaper or magazine. CHPN is an independent neighborhood news site/blog, a grass-roots publication with no staff reporters or editors. We are dependent on readers and contributors to create content. So many cool things we publish happen because we are constantly going through your emails and press releases. Soon we’ll have a new grocery store, the culinary school, new restaurants, the continuing revitalization of housing and so much more. In order to cover all these developments, we need another platform so we can support operations and growth.

What’s happening in 2019

Did you know that CHPN has not been updated in almost 4 years? We are excited to announce that we’re working hard with RedOrange Studio at a thoughtful re-design of the site. We met with several agencies and we found them to be the most intimately connected to the growth of the site, with a lot of their staff being residents of the East End. They’re going to help us modernize the site with responsive design, better comment system, a thorough calendar, a features section for both news and opinions, a business section (working closely with CHABA) and a better search system to find some of the most amazing articles that John M. and Trisha Noel wrote years ago. We also want to be able to provide you with a more streamlined mobile experience. We want you to be proud of your neighborhood’s site!

What do YOU want to see?

If you want to be part of this change, please let us know what you’d love to see and experience. We’ve heard about a “craigslist” type section, or local recommendations for trade skills and contractors. We’ve definitely heard you about separating the “news” from “opinions”. Many of you want to hear more from conscientious youth and conservative voices. What would you like to see more of? What would you prefer we stay away from? We’ll be putting up some polls to get your opinions and requests.

On that Note…

So here’s the ask. We need your continued help. If you are interested in getting involved in any capacity, please contact us. We need contributors, photographers, and community contact liaisons to help us keep a finger on the pulse of the neighborhood. Are you passionate about schools, art or music events? Contact us and see how we can partner with you. Do you want to talk about food more? How about social media? Are you an Instagram aficionado and want to share your work with thousands of folks in the Richmond area? Let us know.

Even if you don’t want to be a contributor, always remember to email us at if you have a tip about a news story that you want us to share. If you or your organization have information, news, or calendar events that should be publicized, please submit them for publication.

To a great 2019!

Our readership keeps growing every year and we’re committed to making your experience here more positive and inclusive.


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jean mcdaniel 11/22/2018 at 4:34 PM

If you have been threatened, I can’t understand why. I know that this site requires a lot of time and attention and I think you are doing a great job.

Jacob C. 11/22/2018 at 7:24 PM

Thank you Jean!

Montana 11/24/2018 at 9:53 AM

This is very useful, thank you sharing

G. 11/25/2018 at 7:12 AM

I miss Murden! I’m pretty sure that I’m not the only one.

(No offense to the new crew – just having a sentimental moment…)

Donit 11/25/2018 at 1:02 PM

I wish yall would go back to tracking crime better in the area. Murden did a great job of it. I also wish you would bring back the homicide count for the year that updates quickly.

CHPN ADMIN 11/25/2018 at 1:40 PM

That’s great feedback. It was a challenge for sure but we’ll do better.

crd 11/25/2018 at 5:46 PM

I agree, want to see more crime updates. Not just murder rate, but break ins too.

Rachel Pater 11/26/2018 at 12:00 PM

I’d love to see more positive news/profiles. Who has been a great neighbor recently? What area school/org/business have made recent contribution to the neighborhood? Why do folks love and live in this area?
I don’t think the editors of this site should be responsible for coming up with this content, but maybe if it were solicited, residents could contribute their own stories.

I’d also like to see folks holding themselves accountable in the comments sections. Would you say something in that tone to a neighbor in person? Is there a way to be more curious and less cutting? Could you try to write 2 or 3 positive things for every negative thing you write?

Thanks for all your work this year, Gustavo, Vanessa, and Jacob. You’re doing a bangup job and I look forward to the new site improvements!

Dubois2 11/27/2018 at 6:48 AM

You guys are doing great and we appreciate y’all very much.
Sorry y’all received threats. That plain sucks.

I second missing the murder counter, and general crime news, but y’all already know that.

Go team!!!

clint 11/27/2018 at 9:53 AM

I follow chpn to keep up with what is going on in the Church Hill area but especially enjoy the history and old photos. My parents and grandparents lived and grew up in Church Hill and I spent time there as a child in the 1940’s and ’50’s and worked there in the 60’s. I appreciate the hard work that you do to keep this “newsletter” alive.


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