News and notes from Reston (tm).

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Sad: Observer "News-Paper" Closes Its Doors

Screen shot 2010-06-08 at 10.52.30 AM.jpgSad news: the Observer newspaper, one of a handful of print publications that actually paid close attention to our earth-toned community, is closing its doors.

Publisher Christopher Moore of Reston said the newspaper is no longer in business.

"We are not planning an issue for this week," Moore said Monday. "The paper has lived its life span."

Moore said that although the paper was popular, the economy and plight of newspaper advertising did the paper in.

"We tried really hard to take a newspaper company and become a media company," Moore said. "But in the end, the money just wasn't there."
Tell us about it! Though to be fair, this site has never been popular.

The news confirms rumors we've heard for the past few weeks; also, the paper's fancy "Web site" had not been updated in over a month. Last year, the Observer consolidated its Herndon and Reston editions, as did the other newspaper that covers the area, the Reston Times. (Somehow the Connection keeps plugging along, though it's been ages since we've seen an actual hard copy of that "news-paper" out in the wild. Come to think of it, maybe that's their secret!)

But we digress. As filthy "web loggers," robust news coverage by local media is important to us because we're incredibly lazy we complement straight reportage, which shouldn't be biased, with our own interpretation of how things should be. Or sometimes we just type the word "awesome" a lot and go have a sandwich. Either way, we take no pleasure in seeing the maelstrom that's taking traditional media by storm hit so close to home.

Moore is taking a job at AOL's news service, so we may not have heard the last of him. We'd heard previously from different sources that AOL's new network of local "web-sites," called Patch, is planning to cover Reston and Herndon, though hopefully not by returning to their late-90s strategy of carpetbombing the country with CD-ROMs. That's a good thing -- more, not fewer, voices are what's needed.

Update: A longer story about the Observer's history.


  1. Those AOL CD's made great drink coasters and Saturnalia tree ornaments.

  2. The real lament is that the smaller newspapers gave more of a 'small town' news feel to a place like Reston that isn't really a 'town' squeeze in our "boy scouts, girl scouts, little league, church events, etc." to the BIG newspaper . . . well, you can see what will happen.

  3. Well another local paper that turned down my application bites the dust. I guess they figured they had better ideas. I don't blame em and don't hold it against them. I just wished I could of helped them.

  4. Rod how long ago did you apply there?

  5. RIP Observer. You served us well and dutifully printed my youth soccer team scores for many a year.

  6. I really liked the Observer. I went in there to give them a story a month or so ago. The young lady at the desk was helpful, informed and reallly enthusiastic about the elections coming up in Reston and Herndon. I am sorry to see it go.

  7. They need advertising. If you had sent in a full-page ad for your sharpening tools business, it might have made a difference.

  8. This is sad news, they served the role of community booster, I for one really appreciated that aspect of thier coverage. I'll miss them.

  9. (Somehow the Connection keeps plugging along, though it's been ages since we've seen an actual hard copy of that "news-paper" out in the wild. Come to think of it, maybe that's their secret!)

    I don't think it adds to their success. It's hard to sell adds to advertisers that just doesn't get distributed. I wish they would and give the "FAIRFAX Times" a run for their money. For a model of how to go out of business just look at Back Fence a citizen newspaper with no paper hence it just never got known by many.

    The Connection is available at RCC Hunters Woods. I think it's a great local paper allowing DIVERSITY. They have never failed to print a letter to the editor from me.

  10. Thanks Joanne! That was me -- Leslie. I wrote and edited for the Observer for the last two and a half years. It was a blast and I have truly grown to love this community. Even bought a condo in RTC in February and live here now. I have loved every minute being involved in this community, from the fairly mundane quirks to the RA and Metro debates. I hope to somehow continue to serve this community. I'm just not sure quite how that will be at this point. Thanks for all the great times and crazy stories and wonderful memories.

  11. P.S. It's strange that I can post on here now. :)

  12. The Restonian web log has not received the Connection as of late? Well, we still receive it here in the Glade stream area (an improvement, not a denudement, is nearly complete... come by for another look, it's "not your father's Snakeden"), although the rag has become so unencumbered by pages that it appears to be a advertisement. Is the Connection thinner, even gaunt, but effective like Steve Jobs? Hardly. More like "in desperate need of an organ donor" like the old Steve Jobs. Local print is dead, it's sad to say, and online citizen journalism & commentary is the only answer. Are you prepared for the task?

  13. Peasant From Less Sought After South RestonJune 11, 2010 at 1:45 PM

    Leslie Ann:

    Welcome aboard this "filthy non-professional Web-log" which, although not deemed "authentic news" by TPTB, still is a good read and a great opportunity for citizen journalism. Looking forward to your joining the ranks of Restonian's commenters, special correspondents, and confidential informants. Since you live in Reston Town Center, maybe you can stake out our awesome fake downtown as your special beat?


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