Commonwealth Chronicle

Online News Coverage of Central and Southwest Virginia

Archive for the ‘Virginia Voice’ Category

Virginia Voice becomes Commonwealth Chronicle

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It turns out Virginia Voice is the registered name for Central Virginia’s audio reading and information service, a non-profit organization celebrating 30 years of service to the visually and physically disabled.

Cameron and I are grateful to Virginia Voice Program Director Becky Emmet, who informed us about this situation.

“We’ll certainly be starting a blog of our own very soon, and things could get more confusing,” Emmet said in an email. “Searching for Virginia Voice on Twitter was how I found you.” It looks like our little blog is growing up.

To all our readers, we hope you continue enjoying our stories.

Written by beckybratu

October 20, 2009 at 12:39 pm

You can find us on Twitter

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Follow Virginia Voice on Twitter. You’ll be the first to know when a new post goes up.

becky cam

Written by beckybratu

October 5, 2009 at 6:07 pm

Journalism students to start news blog

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We are Cameron Steele and Becky Bratu. The madness began in the spring of 2009 with the In-depth Reporting class we took at Washington and Lee University. During the six-week term we reported on a series of  issues concerning Interstate 81, including excessive truck traffic and high crash rates.

At 325 miles, I-81 is the longest interstate in Virginia. It is one of the top eight trucking routes in the United States, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation. I-81 links southern economic hubs to northeast markets. But what was a state-of-the-art expressway in the 1960s became a clogged and perilous roadway. Now the Virginia corridor of I-81 has almost reached its capacity, with an average of 20,000 trucks traveling on the road every day. Originally designed to handle 15 percent truck traffic, I-81 sees up to 45 percent at peak times in busy hubs such as the Roanoke and Winchester areas.

Intrepidness and curiosity took us up and down the Virginia corridor of I-81, from truck stops to research centers, and from a VDOT traffic control room to, well, a morgue. We heard some amazing and, at times, shocking stories about the many ways in which the interstate has affected people’s lives. We told those stories in writing, to the best of our ability. And then the school year ended.

Bratu graduated with a degree in German and Journalism and Mass Communications and moved to Charlottesville. She couldn’t find a job in journalism. Steele, who still has one more year to go before she graduates, scored a summer internship at the Charlotte Observer. But we soon realized we missed our intrepid journeys, reporting for the Rockbridge Report and just writing the stories we cared about.

Enter Virginia Voice. With Bratu in Charlottesville and Steele in Lexington, we found a way to report on the issues we care about the most, such as transportation, business and education. But we’ll keep our eyes open for any other amazing stories waiting to be told.

Written by beckybratu

August 18, 2009 at 7:50 pm