The Central Virginian

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We’ve come a long way, baby!

Posted on Wednesday, October 2, 2013 at 4:14 pm

The newspaper business isn’t what it used to be more than a decade ago. There was a time, going back to the mid to late‘90s here at The Central Virginian when we didn’t have email or an Internet connection.

When someone wanted a news item in the newspaper, they either called it in and a staffer would type it up, or members of the community brought in handwritten or typed information that had to be retyped and set for use in that week’s pages.

After proofing, the news item was printed on special paper and later cut out by hand—yes, with scissors, then run through a waxing machine and affixed in the appropriate space on the page.

We spent long hours standing at the layout table cutting, waxing and pasting each item to the page, then rolling each piece of paper to make sure it adhered tightly. Heaven forbid something got loose and skewed on the page or partially covered the copy surrounding it.  It happened on occasion, unfortunately.

That method was much easier than its predecessor, which was a laborious process the way I understand it.

In 1999, The Central Virginian first got email service. It took a while for many of the staff to learn how to use it and even longer for the community to transition.  Even after we had email capabilities, we still didn’t have a software program for page composition—we still did it the old fashioned way.

I couldn’t tell you how many times I left on a Wednesday night after laying out the paper with small pieces of paper stuck to the bottom of my shoes, affixed to my clothing or—gasp!—in my hair—discovered while in the grocery store picking up something for that night’s dinner.

Those were the good old days, the simple days. We were amazed when we bought our first pagination program and could actually manipulate text on our computer screens. That was another learning curve. Boy, we were really something!

If we covered a football game on a Friday night, many of our readers knew the score, but they didn’t have all the details of the game until the following Thursday. In those days, Dicky Purcell would come in on Monday afternoon and sit down while one of the reporters typed as he talked about the game.

Fast forward to today—our readers have many options with which to get the news from The Central Virginian each week.

In addition to the weekly print and digital editions, our readers can stay up to date on the ever-changing news front through our web site at, Facebook and even with text messaging.  Did you know we even have a mobile app?

Football fans can also hear the play-by-play announcements every Friday night with our audio broadcast via our Ustream Internet channel featuring Dicky Purcell, Tommy Nelson, Dr. John Hodge or Byron Mehlhaff. We may have lost the radio station broadcast years ago on WLSA, but The CV resurrected it and we give Lions fans the same entertaining game coverage with virtually the same cast of characters  from years ago every Friday night—no matter where the game is played.

Here at The Central Virginian, we are a full immersion news product—we send out pictures from the sidelines, update our text message subscribers with the latest score, sack or interception, share what the coaches just said to the team and give you the final score, all in real-time.

When breaking news occurs, we give you the  latest updates through our website, Facebook and text messages, followed with a more in-depth article reporting what happened in our weekly print edition.

At 101 years old, I’d say we’ve come a long way to give our readers more news about Louisa County than any other publication in the world!

We’re not letting the gray hair and wrinkles show. We continue to morph on a regular basis to make sure that we give you, our reader, what you want, how you want it and when you want it—and look forward to serving into the second century.