MACRoCk XIV is upon us!


The 14th annual Mid-Atlantic College Radio Conference (MACRoCk) will be occurring in Harrisonburg, VA on April 1 & 2, 2011. This year, MACRoCk will be hosting over 90 bands including Bouncing Souls, Capsule, S. Carey, Screaming Females, Turbo Fruits, Algernon Cadwallader,  Timbre, Super Vacations, Invisible Hand, 1994!, Pulling Teeth, US Christmas, Cannabis Corpse, Inter Arma, Pianos Become the Teeth, The Extraordinaires, Snack Truck, Dangerous Ponies, Snowing, Woe, Withered, Brooke Waggoner, Antlers, Gifts From Enola, Ocoai, Eternal Summers, Gringo Star, Air Waves, Arches, Andrew Cedermark, Sacred Harp, Heavy Cream and Pujol. MACRoCk will also host a variety of panelists speaking on topics such as Local Food, Booking in The Music Industry & Screen Printing.

MACRoCk was first put on by the student volunteers at James Madison University’s student radio station, WXJM, in 1997. Today, MACRoCk is an independently owned and organized organization, and is the largest independent music conference on the East Coast. MACRoCk offers a unique opportunity for bands, industry professionals and fans to interact and connect to support the music they love. With all the shows taking place in independently run and operated downtown music venues, MACRoCk was founded on a belief that corporate sponsorship and big business were not part of what makes music great. Through grassroots organization and an all-volunteer staff, MACRoCk strives to promote independent music, thought, art, business, and culture. This is MACRoCk’s 14th year, and it is going to be better than ever before. For more information about the conference, bands and tickets, please visit the MACRoCk website at www.macrock.org

OCP Lawn Jam Underway

Our Community Place, a downtown nonprofit focused on supporting hungry and homeless people by providing basic needs and community, hosted its 7th annual Lawn Jam today. Complete with food, a live auction, volleyball tournament, balloon toss, and a yard sale, all proceeds support the nonprofit.

A highlight of the event was the “Slowest Bike Race”, featuring a dozen riders trying to be the last to complete a 10 yard distance. Video below:

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The Need for Political Dialogue

Like many of you, I went to high school here. During that time, when most kids of that age think about a couple of things: girls, music, sports, or hanging out with friends, my major interest was (and still is) politics. I know what you are thinking, “You’re a weird one, Joshua”.

The odd thing was, when my teachers found out about my newly formed political views, some treated me differently. Unfortunately, a few were quite hostile. While we are on the topic, let me dredge up another example from those days, prom. While most guys were trying to find a way to score, I spent the car ride discussing the latest political developments with my date. You roll your eyes (and not without good reason). In retrospect, I admit that prom is not a night for politics. Nevertheless, the one overriding thought of the time was, don’t talk about politics and keep your opinions to yourself. The same maxim held true for family and other social gatherings.

But why must politics (and religion) be a social taboo? Don’t decisions made in the city or county halls, state houses, and in Congress have the potential to drastically change our lives? Do you know how your representatives vote, or even who they are? Regrettably our society has degraded to such a point that there rarely is civil political dialogue. A difference in political opinion cannot be resolved via rational debate, but by shouting, threats, and anger. We are ingrained with this “us against them” mentality. Regardless of your position, we are always right and they (being the opposite viewpoint) are always wrong. We are constantly being divided. We are liberals versus conservatives and Republicans versus Democrats. But these words are losing their meaning.  This lack of discourse further hinders political awareness.

You call yourself a Republican or Democrat but what does that term really mean? More importantly, what issues are critical to you and where do you stand on them? Who knows? Politics in the news has been reduced to personal attacks and 30 second sound bites. Apathy is growing. Gasp…if I can’t defend my positions, does that mean I could be wrong? Never! No one wants to expose their ignorance and so the politically ignorant will use any tool at their disposal to avoid such a discussion. Unfortunately, these tactics create a downward spiral made worse with each passing generation.

If the Harrisonburg Times gives me the opportunity, I will gladly take the chance to tell you about my personal political philosophy. But, even more important than the ability to spread my own ideology, is the need for understanding and dialogue. After all, you might be a closet Democrat or Republican and not even know it, but vote the opposite way because you don’t know any better. I don’t want to sound like an elitist, but the simple fact is I’ve seen it happen.

My hope for this publication is that it can be a forum for rational, open, and honest political inquiry and discussion. I’m sure that I’ll disagree with many of the political opinions of my fellow writers and readers just as surely as they will disagree with mine. Of course, I know that few of you will ever share my burning passion for politics, but for those that have even a mild interest, even you high school students, you needn’t be ashamed, bullied, or intimidated. Believe it our not, politics is vitally important to the health and wellbeing of not only our government, but also our society. For how can you vote when you don’t know the issues or the candidates involved? How can you complain the government is doing too much or too little if you don’t know how your representative voted? It is now time to renew a political dialogue. Let us begin.

This content was submitted by the author, and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Harrisonburg Times.

This post was submitted by Joshua Huffman.

Wanted: 300 Members to Support Local News Writers

The Harrisonburg Times is an effort to provide a sustainable alternative news and information source for the central Shenandoah Valley.  Voluntary written contributions will be vital to the site’s success, especially for opinion pieces, advice columns, arts and living content, and event information.

However, news content takes particular professional talent and significant time, and if the Harrisonburg Times intends to be a credible and consistent news source, a paid news core must be created and maintained.  It is only fair to provide a mechanism to pay news writers a competitive rate.

That mechanism is a membership program.  Members commit $10 per month to a fund to pay news writers.  In exchange, members receive the satisfaction of supporting local, community-driven news writers.  Also, a benefits program is currently being developed that will give members exclusive discounts to local businesses and restaurants.  The benefits will include discounts on purchases, meals, and more.  Benefits will be announced at the Launch Party and will be listed on the Membership page.

Businesses May Add Benefits

Businesses wishing to explore offering a benefit to Harrisonburg Times members are encouraged to contact Ashley@HarrisonburgTimes.com.

300 Members Needed to Sustain News Writers’ Fund

The Harrisonburg Times seeks a minimum of 300 members to have adequate funds in a writers fund.  While verbal and written support of the Times is appreciated, it is simply not enough to create or maintain a viable operation.  Please subscribe today!



Launch Party April 16!

The Harrisonburg Times is launching community-driven content beginning April 15 – and that’s reason for celebration! Come to the Harrisonburg Times Launch Party Friday, April 16, 2010 at Clementine.

Join the early contributors and readers to see the Harrisonburg Times launch content, and for a night to discuss local news, learn about the Harrisonburg Times, meet the writers, and meet new friends.

Register for Harrisonburg Times LAUNCH PARTY! in Harrisonburg, VA  on Eventbrite

Limited space available!

LIVE Music by Caleb Einwechter
Cash bar
Food and Snacks
Great Company!

7:30 Arrival & Reception – including LIVE Music and finger foods
8:15 Launch Presentation
8:45-10:00 Socializing

Suggested Door Contribution Goes Towards the Harrisonburg Times: $10

ALL SUBSCRIBING MEMBERS GET FREE ENTRY!

Growing Momentum for a Fresh Resource

The announcement about the Harrisonburg Times’ pending launch stirred a surprising number and diversity of people interested in contributing to an additional community-driven news and information resource for the Harrisonburg-Rockingham area.

Some stats so far, generated from the single post just two weeks ago:

Coming Soon: The Harrisonburg Times

The Harrisonburg Times is a new media source for the Harrisonburg-Rockingham metropolitan area.

Context

Our local media outlets are a vital part of information exchange in the Harrisonburg-Rockingham metropolitan area.  The Daily News Record, WSVA, WHSV TV3, and others create a wealth of content on a daily basis, and thereby contribute to the public good in many ways.  These organizations also make tremendous in-kind and financial contributions to support and highlight worthy nonprofit causes related to education, arts, youth, and more.

The Problem

That said, there are current barriers to information exchange from our biggest media outlets, the Daily News-Record and WHSV TV3:

  • The Daily News-Record is now pay-only for online content.  This may not be a problem for local people with subscriptions, but it is a problem for local people who want others to know about the information printed in the newspaper – especially our local business, technology, university, sustainability and economic development communities.
  • There is a break in trust between the current newspaper of record and its market.  The editorial stance of the Daily News-Record diverges more and more from the values and opinions of the bulk of Harrisonburg-Rockingham residents.  For all the good the DNR does to inform the public on local issues, its ultraconservative stance is offending and alienating a growing population of people – some who even make it a personal policy to “Do Not Read” the DNR.
  • WHSV TV3, while having online content, is necessarily limited by their medium to have short news stories that cannot provide a depth of analysis that takes more than a few minutes to convey.  They also undertandably favor stories with a visual appeal, which leaves out many stories better written about
  • The online forums of both of the DNR and WHSV are largely unmoderated and have become havens for reactionary, unthoughtful, and ignorant commentary from a relatively few people that incites useless argument.
  • “What bleeds, leads!” is an unfortunate daily reality for the local main stream media because what bleeds sells.  The result is a constant barrage of content that is sensational and focuses more on conflict than substance.If nothing changes, nothing changes.

Solution

The Harrisonburg-Rockingham community is in need of a new and different opportunity to be informed about local issues that impact lives, families, businesses, and politics.  There is also a growing local blogosphere, anchored and made credible by Hburgnews.com.  That single blog is in many ways the only community-driven check and balance to information in the local news, and many times is the only venue for certain dialogue and stories.  The writers, especially Brent Finnegan, should be commended and urged to continue.  Brent’s most recent post indicates a new look is pending.

The Harrisonburg Times aims to become a relevant and valuable contributor of local news and information. The Times will feature political, cultural, business, and educational news, opinion, and features.

There is a growing team of writers who are commited to voluntarily contributing content in many categories.  There is a growing list of advisors who are commited to champion and strengthen this efforts.  And, soon, there will be a growing list of readers.

Coming by April 15

By April 15, 2010, the Harrisonburg Times will have new content on a regular basis.  Until then, there may be some preview stories published.

Get Involved

Writers – We are currently accepting applications!  Click here.
Advisors – To learn more about being an advisor, email editor [at] harrisonburgtimes.com
Advertisers – Your business can advertise here!  Email sales [at] harrisonburgtimes.com for information.

Contribute Financially

The Harrisonburg Times business model will depend on individuals and businesseswho understand the need to financially support an operation.  All early contributions will go towards expenses for developing and advertising Harrisonburg Times.

If you believe we need a new news source, please consider commiting $10 per month via credit card or a one-time donation. Continue reading “Coming Soon: The Harrisonburg Times” »