Letter from the Editor

Greetings Hook readers,

The beginning of a new year is always a good time for a fresh start, and 2013 marks an exciting new chapter for the Hook. As many of you may have already heard, Hook founding editor and C-VILLE co-founder Hawes Spencer has moved on to launch the next adventure in his journalism career, and while he will be deeply missed by those of us who have worked alongside him for years, the spirit of investigative reporting for which he is known lives on in us.

While I'll be taking the helm of the newsroom, my job will be made immeasurably easier by the presence of long-time Hook reporters Lisa Provence, my colleague since the paper's inception, and Dave McNair, who joined the Hook seven years ago after working for such esteemed spots as C-VILLE and the Rutherford Institute. Lisa is now News Editor, and Dave is the Cultural Editor.

We're a seasoned bunch– we joked once that we have a combined 250 years journalism experience, but, in fact, it's only about 50. In addition to being journalists, we're members of this community– we've sent our kids to city and county schools, bought property, paid taxes, struggled to find downtown parking, gotten towed... In other words, we have a stake in this community that's personal as well as professional.

I arrived in Charlottesville in late 1997 after working as what could best be described as a "cub reporter" at Style Weekly and Inside Business in Richmond. I didn't think I had the most impressive story clippings, but after a lunch interview at Bizou restaurant, Hawes gave me a chance to sink or swim as Deputy Editor at C-VILLE, where I spent four years on a learning curve. In 2002, when Hawes launched the Hook, I signed on as the first employee, thrilled by the opportunity to be a part of creating something new and the chance to pursue meaningful stories that have become the Hook hallmark. For the past nearly 11 years, this news team has worked hard to build a reputation as a trusted news source, and I aim to continue that tradition.

Taking on the role of editor would be an exciting challenge anywhere, but in Charlottesville? C'mon. It's a journalist's dream come true. People ask how we come up with stories every week. I say you'd have to crawl under a rock wearing blinders and ear plugs to avoid spotting something interesting in this town. Whether it's the opening of a new restaurant, some inspiring medical innovation happening at UVA, athletes winning gold medals at the Olympics, or a teacher who invents a World Peace game that spreads worldwide, this is a place filled with interesting people doing interesting things. Of course, where there are people, there are also problems, and one role of a journalist is shining a light where some people might prefer secrecy. Lisa, Dave, and I share the conviction that uncovering the truth and telling hard stories is a critical component of our responsibility as journalists.

We have no plans to radically change the Hook, although in the coming weeks and months, you may notice small adjustments as we reflect on how we can best serve our readers. I invite all of you to take part in that process. Let us know what we've done well over the years and what you think we can do better. If you care about something going on or believe we should be covering something we haven't, let us know– or submit an essay for consideration for our back page.

Ultimately, a local newspaper is a two-way street, a conduit for sharing information in a community. A story is only as good as its sources, and we invite all of you to participate in the process. Thanks for supporting us over the past decade. It's an honor to serve you, our readers, and we are looking forward to bringing you the stories of our town for years to come.

And have a happy New Year!

Courteney Stuart

Read more on: Courteney Stuart


Congratulations and Best Wishes--the Hook is an important community resource and I am glad to hear you will be leading the paper.

You didn't even mention the personal sacrifices you've made to be so involved in this publication. When you put your everything into something you believe in, you can almost assure its success. You are going to be great, Courteney and you have a great team!

Congratulations Courteney. You can count on me to keep my flashlight charged, ear to the ground, and the Hook on speed dial.

Congratulations, Courteney, on a well-deserved promotion. You have been an unstoppable force for investigative and enterprise journalism since you started at the Hook. I look forward to watching the next phase of your journalism career -- even from a distance.

I echo all the sentiments above! You are a great and caring person, a tremendous reporter, and well deserving of this promotion! I wish you many years of success!!

Congratulations on your promotion! Best wishes for you and the Hook. Keep up the great writing and reporting-and keep writing about the bad guys also. 241

love what you all do, since you asked;
my feedback, smutty headlines are unnecessary and take credit away from the good research and reporting you all do so well. STOP the smutty headlines, covers etc... what you all write will speak for itself without the tmz type stupidity.

Ditto what maggiewood said. I don't know whether the tabloid approach brings more people in but certainly the ethos of the newspaper ('newspaper' sounds so archaic) could be brought up a bit by being frank and hardhitting without the sleaze (that has been some of the quirky charm too perhaps). And feel free to put your photo on the masthead; it's lovely.

You deserve this, Courteney. Put on the supergirl cape. We can't wait to see what you do.

Congratulations ... I think you'll do a great job. I was Style Weekly 's first restaurant reviewer, and I used to have a daily column in The Progress. Let me know if I can help.

Sooooo glad to hear that Hawes is gone! He picked on certain locals with a vengeance and venom only someone with a lasting grudge could. VERY pleased that new hands are in charge and I wish you the best! And bully to more women in charge in c-ville! Is Hawes still on the team at all? Does he still own the paper?

I will miss Hawes and wish him the the best. The Hook is very good hands and Ms. Stuart you are certainly up to any task. We llok to see, read and hear from you in the future. This is certainly a win - win event.

Remaining loyal Hook Reader!

Happy New Year and all of the best!

Michael Sutton