Why do you like RVA? (And, why I love it.)

by Cameron McPherson

I really love Richmond. I’ve called it home for the past 27 years.

As a Fan-dweller, I enjoy being able to walk to restaurants, parks and the ultimate Richmond destination: my friends’ porches.

The 8-minute drive to The Hodges Partnership is also a perk. How people survive 45 minute commutes, I will never know. As a young professional, our agency has some great perks: flexible schedules, a fun environment, collaborative culture and other things like agency-wide pizza (and beer) brainstorms and an annual baseball outing. This year, I went to my first Orioles game! Which brings up another convenience: Richmond is so close to so much, from mountains and beaches to other cities.

I’m part of YRVA, a project team of about 30 young professionals that aims to survey other young professionals and college students on why they like Richmond and how we can improve it. We’re organized by Richmond’s Future, a nonprofit think tank focused on the future of Richmond. Results from the survey will be made public and will be shared with city leaders and HR professionals at companies around Richmond.

Help us figure out how we can make Richmond a better place. It only takes 15 minutes! Please take one of the surveys below:

Hopefully, we’ll hang out on a Richmond porch one day!

(Editor’s note:  There was also a great column in the T-D yesterday from publisher Tom Silvestri .  Click here to read.

Random Friday thoughts, snarky and unsnarky

It’s summer, it’s a Friday, it’s time for random thoughts…

  • Sat down with a long-time client and friends this week and as a result I’m pledging to become more of a “partner” with my clients moving forward.  It is something we have to remind ourselves about from time to time but at the end of the day their success is our success.
  • I’m hoping that Richmond’s wildly successful Social Media Club is not becoming just another group that just enjoys hearing more about each other than from others who can truly help social and digital grow and evolve.
  • Wondering why the Mets can’t diagnose their star players injuries.
  • I’m very intrigued by the intersection of sports and social/digital and why sports teams and school are leaving a considerable amount of money on the table and not truly engaging their fan base.
  • How many groups and organizations need to be created to try to get Richmond to embrace its creativity.  Why can’t all those groups get together and focus their energies?  That would be truly creative.  (Full disclosure, THP is working with one of those groups)

Time to “clear the mechanism.”

What move is that line from?

“When it ends….”

“When it ends, you fall off a cliff.”

Those were the words uttered by the losing coach in the “other” NCAA Men’s Basketball semi-final after his team lost last night.

But will John Calipari’s words foreshadow what will happen in Richmond, now that the NCAA magic carpet ride came to its inevitable end in Houston?

Long after Dickie V ate his crow and the memories of long lines at the VCU bookstore fade, we are left with the same public perception issues that we were dealing with three weeks ago.

Or are we?

That is now for us to decide.

Can we build on the fun we had at ESPN’s expense and turn Venture Richmond’s banner into a rallying cry for the future?

Can we turn this regional goodwill into progress in attracting new businesses and tourists to a community in great need of the revenue they will bring?

Can we take this excitement for sports and finally decide what new regional sports facilities will help fuel our next Cinderella story?

In a culture where people quickly have a hard time to name who made the Final Four last year, will we look back years from now and say this was the moment that it all turned around?

Perhaps that’s too much to ask for two weeks of Black and Yellow magic.

Richmond is this our time to shoot for the stars?  Or will we just fall off the cliff?

It’s time for our leaders to step up and Shaka the world just like the team they all adopted.

This was Our Team.  And our time is Right Now.

#RVA, this week, we are ALL Rams.

So you thought last week was wild, well Richmond, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Final Four, baby!

And another week for the team, the school and the city to bask in the glow of national attention.

First and foremost, let’s stay classy and celebrate safely.  Many cities have had their reputations destroyed forever during sports celebrations.  It’s also time for forget about Bilas and Vitale, this is way past the debate of getting in or not.  It is about the celebration of success achieved and success still for the taking.


Jamie Skeen can feel it.

Second, we should ALL be VCU.  Most people know I bleed Scarlet for Rutgers, but this week I will proudly wear black and gold.  And why not, Richmonders, even those who are Spiders, Wahoos, Hokies or Panthers may never see the likes of this again.  Let’s embrace Ram Fever.  It’s time to make last week’s pep rallies look like first acts in the ultimate basketball Cinderella story.


Third, in a city that is in a constant search for its identity but where in recent times we have focused on the intersection of history and creativity, what better way to celebrate that identity than through this team of scrappy underdogs who have used their creativity on the court to continue writing their inprobable history.

A history that is still in the making.

Butler is very beatable, after all.

So Richmond, let make the most of this next week.  Let’s unite under the black and gold halo and let this be the start of something as opposed to the end of a magical run.

But first and foremost.  Go, Rams, go.

The Richmond media market: The shrinkage has stopped

I am one of the many (about 250 people) very much looking forward to Tuesday’s meeting of the Richmond Social Media Club where some of Richmond’s journalists will discuss and debate how social media has changed how they do their jobs.

Instead of addressing that directly now, I find myself thinking about how Richmond as a media market has changed in such a short period of time.  The drivers in that change have been economics and technology.

The economics has forced the stalwarts of the market, the Richmond Times-Dispatch and the network-affiliate television stations to undergo a period of change unique in their histories. 

The T-D, in order to survive has been forced to shred itself of its “experience” and make do with a smaller, and in most cases younger staff.   Add to that the inevitable shrinking of the actual paper itself and you have a smaller product, manned by a smaller staff, with less institutional knowledge.

On the TV side, the latest round of “ownership roulette” is in the process of doing much the same to the area’s television newsrooms.

In recent years, we have told our local clients who want news coverage that Richmond is the “incredible shrinking media market,” and for a while that was true.

However, where economics and technology (or the slowness to embrace it) have robbed the local media giants, they have created opportunity for others to make their mark.

Just one look at the local news aggregator, Richmond Good Life, will show you there are countless opportunities in local media. 

Where Inside Business once resided, there is the now growing online business option Richmond BizSense.  Our friend (although sometimes we find ourselves on opposite sides of some issues) Jason Roop at Style Weekly is using the publication’s website to break news in between weekly print issues.  As is Richmond Magazine, which has debuted blogs in recent months. Online publication RVA Magazine is a trendsetter.  The specialty publications like Boomer Life are making their mark.

This coupled with the aggressive growth of neighborhood and topical blogs like Trevor Dickerson’s Downtown Short Pump (I live there) or John Murden’s efforts downtown, our friend John Sarvay’s Buttermilk and Molasses, and of course Jeff Kelley’s satirical Tobacco Avenue, and I think the shrinkage has finally stopped. 

My guess is that other cities are seeing the same.  As a PR pro, in order to be “successful,” we must first re-think how we think of media in order to reorient our clients.

The “big story in the paper” is frankly not the holy grail that it once was.  For some businesses, it may be more important to get a big feature in a neighborhood blog.

I challenge you to take a good look at Richmond Good Life and all the media Richmond has to offer.  The Richmond media scene is changing and growing, it is time for all of us to embrace it because it will never be as it was again.

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