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Community Voices series tackles the changing landscape of community news


BLACKSBURG, Va., Nov. 23, 2011 – Brian Wheeler, executive director of the online news source Charlottesville Tomorrow, will speak on the changing landscape of community news in his presentation for Community Voices on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 7 p.m. at the Lyric Theatre in downtown Blacksburg.

Charlottesville Tomorrow is a community news platform covering growth, development, and local politics. Charlottesville Tomorrow connects the public to vital information for making informed choices about the community's future. In his talk, Wheeler will explore “building new platforms for engaged citizens and informed choices.”

Through a partnership with The Daily Progress, the first of its kind in the nation, Charlottesville Tomorrow's reporting is now a regular feature in the pages of the local newspaper of record.  "The partnership is clearly benefitting our readers, who are getting more public affairs reporting at a time when most news organizations are pulling back. The Daily Progress is a better, more consistent newspaper because of this partnership," said McGregor McCance, The Daily Progress managing editor.

“Evening performances of the popular Community Voices series makes the talks available to a wider community audience,” says Max Stephenson, director of Virginia Tech’s Institute for Policy and Governance.  “We are grateful to our sponsors who make Community Voices free to all who wish to attend.” 

Community Voices speakers give concise and engaging 20-minute talks that incorporate stories of leadership for community transformation.  Following the talks, the programs include conversation and dialogue between audience members and the Community Voices speakers. 

Community Voices video records the presentations and makes them widely available through a public access website.  The talks and interviews with the speakers are also available by local broadcast over the Blacksburg town television station WTOB and radio station WUVT-FM 90.7.  A compilation of the spring 2011 talks is available on DVD.  For more information, contact the Institute for Policy and Governance.  The Community Voices program is one hour in duration. 

The theme for the fall 2011 and spring 2012 series is Creative Leadership for Community Innovation and Resilience.   Upcoming Community Voices speakers in spring 2012 will include Woody Crenshaw, a Floyd County entrepreneur asking, “What do the farm and farm family of the 21st century look like?”; and, Dr. John Dreyzehner, former director of the Cumberland Plateau Health District and newly appointed Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Health, asking what the connections are between community health and prosperity.

The Community Voices speakers are engaged in fostering work that strengthens community. Their leadership includes the capacity to speak cogently and concisely about their experiences, to tell stories that are revealing of their work, and to present ideas for change, ideas that matter.

Sponsors for the Community Voices fall 2011 series include the Virginia Tech Institute for Policy and Governance; The Community Foundation of the New River Valley; Virginia Tech Center for Student Engagement and Community Partnerships; The Floyd Country Store; Virginia Tech Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought; Planning, Governance and Globalization Program of Virginia Tech School of Public and International Affairs, and Virginia Cooperative Extension.

Virginia Tech’s Outreach and International Affairs supports the university’s engagement mission by creating community partnerships and economic development projects, offering professional development programs and technical assistance, and building collaborations to enrich discovery and learning – all with the overarching goal of improving the quality of life for people within the commonwealth and throughout the world. Outreach and International Affairs leads Virginia Tech’s presence on five continents; its regional research and development centers across the commonwealth focus on graduate education and professional development. Blacksburg-based centers are dedicated to student engagement, language, policy, and governance.

Written by Andy Morikawa, faculty Fellow at the Institute for Policy and Governance.