Sunday, March 28, 2010

Villa Heights Voice delivers nearby news, partnering with The Charlotte Observer

Leaders in the nearby Villa Heights community have started a neighborhood news site, “Villa Heights Voice,” as part of a partnership with The Charlotte Observer.

It’s a great place to check for nearby news you won’t get anywhere else. It’s also part of a national trend of big, traditional news organizations partnering with smaller sites to provide local information. Other sites working with The Observer include Ballantyne Scoop,, QCityMetro, and Tega Cay Talk, all through a program of J-Lab at American University.

But Villa Heights shares some interests with Merry Oaks: a focus on the Eastway division of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department, the same zoning inspector for residential concerns (unless staffing changes affect assignments), the same city council representative (Patsy Kinsey) and a focus on the availability and concentration of affordable housing.

They also write often about nearby Cordelia Park and efforts to create an EcoDistrict with their nearby neighborhoods, Belmont and Optimist Park.

The neighborhood is roughly north of Parkwood Avenue and east of North Davidson Street, over to Matheson and The Plaza. It includes the yummy Amelie’s Bakery and is close to the NoDa neighborhood.

Some other recent sites also focus on events and businesses in NoDa itself:, from the NoDa Business Organization, and a closed site for the NoDa neighborhood, which occasionally opens pages for events, like a scavenger hunt planned for May.

I’m adding Villa Heights and Noda to the “Connections” list here. Check them out.

A disclaimer and a promotional note: I was paid to give the Villa Heights organization some journalism lessons. If you or your organization want similar coaching, feel free to contact me with the form at the bottom left.

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