The Experiment Comes to a Close


It is with a heavy heart that I write to inform everyone that the Clarke Daily News is ceasing operations today, September 26, 2012. It has been an honor to provide news for our community and it has been my pleasure to become acquainted with so many wonderful people that I would probably not have met otherwise.

This experiment has always been about community. Sustainable news in a format that is easily accessible is an integral part of every community. It creates the narrative memory that we can all contribute to and share. But, as large media companies continue to contract, creating ever growing areas that see little or no news coverage, that narrative is lost. The Clarke Daily News was an effort to strip news down to the bare bones and see if there was a way to sustain it. For three years Ed Leonard and I wrote about the tragedies and the triumphs in Clarke County and everything in between that makes-up the mosaic of our community. During that time, we published over 4,000 articles. But, what was really amazing was the level of interest people had in participating in the experiment through comments. During our years of work, there were almost 20,000 comments on the site. There was something unique about the level of ownership people felt. Comments on our articles outstripped other news sources 10 to 1. But, therein lay the problem that would ultimately be the demise of the CDN.

Owned by two equal partners with distinctly different editorial perspectives and views of how the comments should be moderated, the middle ground was always an ongoing compromise. The line between free speech and hurtful screed is impossible to define precisely, and ultimately was not acceptable to either one of us. For me, it became hurtful and counter to the whole idea of community. In the end, there was no compromise that was workable. Since Mr. Leonard and I are both tied to the brand, there was no path forward other than to shut-it-down.

So this experiment ends today, but I think there is hope. News can survive in small communities. While there are stories that can bear the full brunt of free speech, the overall approach needs to also protect stories that are simply nice reflections of a beautiful place.

Best regards,



See Comments




  1. Sargewillis says:

    So very sad, you guys did a great service to this community, so sorry to hear you are ending it!

  2. Sorry to hear this. I enjoyed reading about the community events.

  3. Eric Thomson says:

    As a new comer to the town and indeed the country from the UK, I found your news and other items invaluable. Sad to see it go.

    Thank you and good luck

  4. Patricia Castelhabo says:

    I am so sad to hear this. I am newish to clarke county and you have helped me tremendously in getting to know my community. I learned a lot more than the passions of a few by reading your updates and have deeply appreciated your efforts. I guess I should have said so before now. Thank you, here’s to future endeavors.

  5. I am very sorry to hear this – as a community we need a good source of local information

  6. WOW-WOW-WOW is all I can say- What a great privilege it was to read the stories of the community and keep in touch with what is going on in our local community- We will all be at a lost. Thank you for your wonderful 3 years of service and best luck with all future endeavors. Truly will be missed.

  7. Patsy McFillen says:

    I am so sad when I read this morning that this is your last day. I grew up in Berryville and now live in McLean. I so enjoyed reading all your posts. I will miss them. Thank you


  9. Well, first off, I’d like to apologize for any part I may have played in the comments. Having moderated a board for a few years, I know the difficulties involved in the “It’s free speech, let them call each other whatever they want” vs “we need to play nice” aspect, meaning moderating some comments. It is hard. It’s also hard to hear the critisisms like “Why didn’t you cover this?” and “How about more detail?”. Not that that is a bad thing, but people that have not run boards do not realize how much work it is behind the scenes, especially for a board that is free. It does get hard hearing that when you are devoting your own time and money to the cause.

    But I would ask you to reconsider your decision. Since the Star bought the Courier with the promise of covering the area, but falling woefully short, you all have been the only real source of news about the county on the net. You all do good, although I’m sure you don’t hear it much. I would not let a disagreement over comments bring that effort to an end.

    Normally, I would suggest a subcription service. Most times it cuts down on just anyone coming in and commenting, but in the case of CDN, it appears there are only a set number of folks that come here, and you might end up cuting out some folks that otherwise ccouldn’t afford the service. A donation buttom is always a good thing though:)

    The other thing you could try in regards to comments is basic rules. “Play nice” is a good start, although even the meaning of that can come up for debate. But I think most people would be capable of it, although bets would probably be off for a Don Marro piece.

    Frankly, I think there’s nothing wrong with giving folks time outs from the comments, although there again it’s extra work and possible arguements on your part. Again, I think basic rules, ie the basic request for civility (which has never been a stated requirement here) would help allieviate the headaches.

    Bottom line, and as I said, I would ask you all to reconsider. The basic good work you two do for the community would be hard to replace. If it is your final decision to close, then I thank you for your efforts. It is appreciated.

    • Bob Brawley says:

      Sarge I agree with your first and second paragraph the third paragraph I don’t agree with because Donald Marro was a conversation starter. His editorials created a public response that many of the other articles never did.

      • Well, that could be part of the issue as well. Perhaps an identity crisis. You’ll notice most of Don’s letters garnered well over 100-200 replies and probably even more hits. Those hits are used when talking to advertisers about advertising on your site. It’s much easier to get people to advertise if you can say “Hey, we get 2000 hits per day” as opposed to “Hey,we get 100 hits per day”. Don’s letters generated hits, although the letters themselves may not have been the type of content the site wanted. Or maybe they were. Who knows? To me they were always kinda like looking at a bad car wreck. You don’t want to gawk, but as you drive by, you just can’t help it. Again, those “looks” draw revenue.

        CDN, I do see a base of paying customers here in these comments………………

  10. Kevin Lambert says:

    Sad to see it go, but I think we all know why it is. Some people decided that this was their own personal politic blog to spin every story posted here. Thanks for destroying what this site was intended for!

  11. Sad to see the site go, with the demise of the courier, and the star going behind the pay wall, it was invaluable to keep up with what happened back “home.”. Would hope you reconsider; who made it a rule that a website must have a comments section? You could simply run it like the old newspaper, accepting letters, and deciding whether or not to publish them. Contrary to too many commenters opinion, you have no obligation to broadcast all thoughts. If someone wants a soapbox, they’re free to start their own website. You provided a great service, thank you for doing so.

    • Bob Brawley says:

      When the paper has no income how can they keep their interist up in the hobby? I agree with Sarge that a subscription Is the better approach. I wouldn’t pay a subscription to read AV’s comments . but if they were attached to Clarke County Articles. Yes I’m about to subscribe to The Winchester Star and the one in Strasburg. I think its in Strasburg

    • Former resident says:

      I agree totaly having been raised in Berryville until I was 17 and having been gone for 30m years it was a nice way to see what my hometown was up to. You can leave Berryville but Berryville never leaves from you! I too ask that you reconsider.

  12. Mary L. C. Daniel says:

    Mike and Ed, I am so sorry to see the CDN go. You’ve diligently kept us informed about Berryville events, and provided a forum for discussion that has no equivalent for us. Thank you for all your hard work, and for the perpetual attempt to “get it right”. The CDN will be missed. (But you better not be missing. I hope we will hear more soon, and look forward to your next ventures!)

  13. Very sorry to see this end. I LOVED the local news; I LOVED that community members could author articles; I LOVED the format. I even LOVED that the ads were mostly local. Being involved with marketing and social media in my work, I know the work you had to put into this to produce this site. I thank you for it.

  14. ElinorDashwood says:

    Thank you Mike and Ed for all that you have provided the community over the years. I do remember that you had a statement that said, “comments are moderated, so play nice.” I personally apologize for any time that I may have crossed that line.
    I know that you have worked very hard on this site to provide news to the county, with very little monetary compensation for your time and efforts. I appreciate all that you have done to keep the people of Clarke informed. You and your articles will be sorely missed, God bless.

  15. Too big a job for just 2 guys. Nice try though. You’ll be missed. Politics ruins everything.

  16. I am very sad to see the end of a website I visited each day to keep in touch with news from “home”. Perhaps it could be continued in some form with the ability to comment no longer available.

  17. I have so enjoyed feeling that I was connected to Clarke County here in Fort Lauderdale. Thank you for such a wonderful experiment, I loved it. Hopefully someone will take the ball and continue or renew this great idea and website.
    Sorry, very sorry, to see you go.
    Thank you

  18. Maybe the answer is to just get rid of the comments section and only share the news, I came here each morning with my coffee in hand to read the local news, not others opinions of it. Your business model may still work if you simply report the news, and let the discussions take place off your digital page. I hope you reconsider, your work is valued in the community

    • Bob Brawley says:

      That ain’t going to work . I first read the comments then maybe the article certainloy with the Donald Marro letters

      • That’s you, maybe others don’t need a set of vitriolic comments to get their adrenalin flowing in the morning. It is the comments, which are causing the demise. Tossing the comments and keeping the news is far better than nothing at all.

  19. Overwhelmingly sad does not began to express the effect on me of your announcement to cease online publication. With roots that go back many generations in Clarke Cty, my parents and then I subscribed to the Courier from the 1940s on, as we lived all over the world. When it ceased print publication, I was so thankful for your efforts to provide a good online replacement. There is an irony beyond words here. With the passing of my uncle Bill Smallwood earlier this year, my brother and sisters, and cousins, will be selling most if not all of the Smallwood farm on the edge of Berryville, where we all have many happy memories of growing up. Thank you for your great effort to show what a wonderful place Clarke County continued to be.

  20. We appreciate the local news coverage you provided the community. Thanks for your service. Best of luck in the future.

  21. Rice St. Resident says:

    I think I can second many of the above opinions, i came here to read the news, and find out what was going on in the community, not for other peoples opinions. For times I wanted to discuss it, thats what my SO and neighbors were for :). I would beg you to reconsider, and keep going, without comments, knowing that people enjoyed the articles that you wrote, and the coverage that you gave to our little town/county.

  22. Another View says:

    I thought both the newspaper, and the comments, were wonderful. The robust and spirited discussion was healthy, informative and entertaining. It shall be missed.

  23. Uncle Jessie says:

    Anyone who frequents this site knows things changed once “Another View” started making comments. This gave “Sarge” a buddy to bash anyone, anything and every article. They turned every article into a political debate filled with hatred- which made the site unbearable.

    Please continue the site without comments.

    • Agree 100%.

    • Well, beings how this is still America, you always had the opportunity to either not read the comments and/or not to respond. The reason you and a few others got wadded up is that their are people here with opinions that differ from yours, and that for whatever reason, you couldn’t seem to cope.

    • Another View says:

      Disagree 100%

  24. Agreed with all above who will saldy miss the coverage, and also that turning the comments option “OFF” resolves at least part of the problem. Maybe you could keep the news site running and if one partner or the other prefers the blog/forum format then include a link and the vitriol can spew forth over there without impeding/impacting the good work you’ve done to cover the county’s issues and local stories.

  25. As Chairman of the Clarke County Republican Committee I appreciated the honest journalism of Michael Dowling when he covered our events this summer. While the ‘comment’ section had their partisan hacks the Clarke Daily News always reported the news in a professional and un-bias manner. CDN will be missed.

  26. I didn’t mind Sarge that much, however” Another View” totally ruined the site. What a shame. I enjoyed reading but this person made it very difficult.

  27. I agree with Rice St., hope you will reconsider and keep going without comments. Sometimes it is impossible to filter all the mean spirited comments. Thank you for the service you have provided. We will miss Clarke Daily News.

  28. Sharon Strickland says:

    Farewell fellow journalists. This live CDN will be missed greatly. However, I hold out hope as others do and as Mike wrote. I am now on standby to cheer forward the next installation of another paper like this one. I visited your site before reading The Winchester Star. I commented much and truly enjoyed posting articles about the DAR, the Battlefield Estates Civic Association, and on other topics. I enjoyed the interviews with the owners and I felt stories were well represented. I too will miss my installations of “The Locket.” Michelle Hayes contacted me early this morning and people need to know that her own website will feature the story’s next chapters. Mike and Ed, sometimes the chatter could be mean and hurtful but mostly the chatter allowed for discussions and that was better than the three minutes you are currently allowed in any town council meeting. So, thanks for the memories. Best of luck to you and may your pens be ever filled with ink and may you carry a pad of paper with you at all times. Old reporters never die they just keep telling stories. Look at me—I chatter all the time. See you about our town and again, I look forward to what your future will bring to us, the readers. Fondly, Sharon

  29. Jay L. Marts says:

    This is terrible news. I greatly enjoyed your site.

  30. All of us here at the Clarke County Historical Association are very sad to see CDN cease publication. As a local historian I will search the Star, mostly in vain, for news out of Clarke that could become part of our 21st century archives. Clarke is now truly isolated, with no voice in the debate of local history. Thank you, Mike & Ed, for your efforts over the last 3 years. It HAS been appreciated.

    • Bob Brawley says:

      I’ll have to disagree with you with the combined NVD and the Winchester Star there is plenty of Clarke County news . But no Message board. That was the Star of this paper.

      • NVD was recently bought by another company and no longer covers Clarke County – or Winchester for that matter. They may pick up large stories but they don’t have a correspondent to handle these territories.

  31. put it on my tab says:

    I too wish you would reconsider. How else will we get news for Clarke County? So many things I found out through the CDN website that I wouldn’t know otherwise. Total bummer.

    • Bob Brawley says:

      Ask Ed and Mike how they pulled it off and get your own started. I think it would be a good project of the Clarke County Historical Asso. Todays’ comments are tomorrows history.

      • Indeed, seeing as your insightful commentary has contributed to the demise of a local news resource. Ironic that in the desire to “hear” your own voice you destroyed the medium in which to do so. Start your own forum…

  32. This local news site will be missed!

  33. George Archibald says:

    A huge “huzzah!” to publisher Ed Leonard and partner Mike Dowling for a valiant effort and their tremendous personal sacrifice. It is not acceptable to see this great successful experiment vanish for the reason give in Mike Dowling’s “farewell.” I know from many years in journalism that with discussion and planning among well-intentioned people, CDN might be reborn in a different skin, and perhaps the owner of the Clarke Courier banner, in mothballs after that newspaper’s demise, might be willing to permit that enterprise to become part of another venture. The bottom line is always financial, the power and agenda of media owners.

  34. Ivan Lambert says:

    I’m so disappointed.
    Grew up in Berryville, and have felt connected to Berryville through CDN.
    Your site has reminded me that “you can never go home again” that our dear old hometown like all other towns is ever-changing because there are always people who are relocating, dying, growing up, maturing, becoming the new town leaders.

    Yet, CDN also reminded me of the town from which I have fond memories, and old friends.
    If you establish another site, I hope you’ll email me and alert me to the new site.
    Thank you for your contribution you’ve made for those who grew up in Berryville.

  35. Sorry to read this news. I to have to agree with most folks your paper will be missed. But, it is easy to understand why you can’t carry on. I was sick off all the political comments that were posted. I see and hear enough of that garbage on TV.

    • Bob Brawley says:

      Sadly there was few comments in the articles that didn’t generate political postings. Without the politics and the religion there is no comments. Too few comments. The Hall of Fame CCHS article seemed to have generated comments from people that actually are familiar with Berryville and the people in Clarke County

  36. You two made a very noble effort the past few years. Berryville is in dire need of some type of news forum. I have to admit, I enjoyed reading the comments as I do on national sites. My passion for a broader tax base in Clarke through business development always lured me to comment when the story was within a related subject matter. If only I had more computer web site development savvy, I may be willing to contribute some man hours to keep a medium like this going with a couple others in the community who feel the same way, IF the site could operate in an unbiased manner. Thank you both for your efforts.

  37. Bob Brawley says:

    I will miss the paper but it was the right thing to do.

    • NO! Now I’ll never know anything that’s going on in the community. More often than not I did not even read the comments and when I did I took most with a grain of salt. I basically got my news and moved on. Please reconsider, get rid of the comments but please don’t go.

  38. Orville Boggs says:

    Just get rid of the comments section and keep reporting CC news. Without you guys we won’t know what’s going on. The other papers in the area print little to nothing in the line of CC or Berryville news. As far as comments go, not everyone is going to agree with everyone else, it’s what makes us individuals. There are a lot of things the local government does I don’t agree with but without people and their opinions we will all end up like sheep unwittingly filing into slaughter…
    Clarke County needs a news paper just like it needs a pharmacy, it’s a necessity. CND is our voice.
    I feel as if the county is falling apart, there is no real economic growth like in neighboring counties, no real services, no pharmacy, no high speed internet to speak of (at least not a mile outside of town) and after today we will have no voice. Think about this… Where would the Barns of Rose Hill be if it wasn’t for CND reporting on the story of the “Big Bad Wolf”, Wolf Trap sewing over a name? If the people of this county hadn’t read about it in the CND, the Barns of Rose Hill may now be named something like “The Music Shed”.
    Honestly, I think there is more to this than just the comments section… I’m thinking the local government has a hand in shutting the CND down as they don’t want CC residents to be informed of what’s going on in the local government and schools, they rather us all live in ignorant bliss as they move forward their own agenda.. They prefer to do things in secret or at least quietly…

  39. Clark Hansbarger says:

    The difficulty was the anonymity of the posts. This allowed cowards to throw rocks from the darkness at the adults in the community who came to the table with their name tags on. When citizens are accountable for their opinions, they voice them more thoughtfully. This in itself is the most effective and least intrusive editing of free speech.

    • Totally agree, best comment I ever read on CDN. Thanks for trying to keep residents informed on the happeings in CC.

    • How do I know you are Clark Hansbarger?

      • Bob Brawley says:

        Good point . Even a real name could be fake , I posted as FredJonesJunior till i read in the archives he recently died. How many people in the Clarke Community actually know who another real sounding name is? Very few I suspect. I’m not a resident of Clarke but when I read the fake name Mayor Gisby it sounded good. till I googled the Mayor of Berryville

      • When you see him on the street you ask him.

    • So true!!!

  40. River Watcher says:

    That’s it, no warning? No last edition? Come on really!

    Without CDN I would have known nothing that went on in our community.

    IF this is about money I am willing to pay a fee per year to keep CDN up and running!!

    Your’e our voice! PLEASE reconsider. THANK YOU CDN!!!

  41. Great job fellas! Even though–I never agreed with half of the things that made it through moderation–I still enjoyed keeping up with the local news! I knew it was only a matter of time before a few bad apples would ruin it for everyone!

  42. Voice of Reason says:

    Mike and Ed.
    Your reporting on all of our local events did an outstanding service for our community. The photographs, contributed by many, captured memorable moments of small town life. You gave aspiring writers and journalists an outlet to publish their work. It took a lot of sweat to get CDN out everyday. I’m sure it took a lot of thought to come to the decision to pull the plug. Thank you for all you’ve done. Best of luck in the future. You’ll be missed.

  43. My morning coffee will miss its friend…
    Thanks CDN for all your hard work. It was appreciated by those of us who don’t even live in CC, but love the small town family banter. Kind of like Thanksgiving dinner, complete with the eccentric old uncle. Sorry we won’t get to visit anymore…

  44. Susi Bailey says:

    I am really sorry to hear this – you have been a great asset to getting the news & events out to everyone. I hope there might be a way that you can come back!
    Thank you for all you have done!

  45. Ed, Sorry to learn that you and your partner have decided to call it quits. I don’t pretend to know what all the problems were, but I found the CDN the ONLY means of keeping up with local news and developments. One suggestion above was that you cease allowing comments directly on articles, but use your editorial judgement to print some selected, edited, and SIGNED letters to the editors, as newspapers do. Also, funding could be enhanced by subscription, or Donation button. Thanks for your valiant effort, and my wish that one or both of you, or someone else take up the torch.
    If I were 30 years younger I might be tempted to try. Dave

  46. Cindy Perry says:

    Please don’t go! Remove the comment option instead.

  47. BvilleResident says:

    Don’t go! Remove comments but don’t go!

  48. Please stay! Charge a fee, eliminate the comments, but don’t go.

  49. Sargewillis says:

    Well Mike and Ed, you got over 50 of us, most willing to pay to keep you guys in pen and ink, please re-consider your decision! Due to my early rising I was the first to comment on the CDN’s demise but I bet I will not be the last. Whatever you both decide, thank you for your service to this community, you will be sorely missed.

  50. Clarke Life says:

    I think the people that hit up every single article just to argue and post hurtful things about others was a sad way to take down a wonderful community resource. This site will be missed. Thanks for the time and effort the 2 owners/partners put into this.

  51. Amanda Lambert says:

    Is there any way to keep the site open for articles but with no comments allowed? Like a newspaper site? (Just a thought) I completely understand- and I for one, quit reading the comments and only read the articles. Loved the community updates and info. Thanks for your service to our community CDN!

  52. I do enjoy the website…thanks for taking the time.

    I must make a final comment with regard to this comment thread. Seems to me, on average, about 90% of the comments appeared to be “left” leaning on this site. Yet, all of you whine and complain about 1 or two individuals who spoiled it…come on babies. Sounds true to the typical “lefty”…you don’t mind comments as along as they agree with you, but as soon as someone has a dissenting opinion…”well , we cannot have these horrible comments…blah blah blah”

    Grow up…get a backbone…perhaps you can learn something.

  53. CC TaxPayer says:

    Thanks for an extraordinary job keeping the residents of CC informed. I looked forward to checking in everyday to get the latest news. I even enjoyed the “comments”, though some people got out of hand with the politics. Too bad, but I totally understand. I often got tired of the back and forth politics. Thank you for your service to our community. I will truly miss CDN.

  54. Tammy Lanham says:

    Dear Mike and Ed,
    Thank you both for the great stories as well as the opportunity to share our views. Our community is probably stronger because we had a voice when it came to political matters, and I for one enjoyed learning more about our neighbors and local happenings in articles that kept us informed and often brought us together.

    Unfortunately it was the digression from the original topics that did wear down readers (and water down the intent of several articles.) The issue of moderation is a difficult one to bear- Can’t imagine having to wade through all THAT after you both went to the trouble to find topics and write about them in the first place!

    I’m just thankful you were able to keep going for three years- and we all know that the news will keep happening and our community will remain just as tight (and opinionated) even if the word doesn’t get spread as fast!

    Best wishes to you both as the “pages” turn on another chapter in your lives. Thanks for being part of ours!

    Most sincerely,
    Tammy Lanham
    (as always, Support’n Clarke!)

  55. Mike Dowling says:

    I appreciate all the kind words expressed here today. It means a lot to me to hear such tremendously positive responses.

    I wanted to address some of the comments because these are problems we have considered but have been unable to resolve.

    First, eliminating comments was a possibility we discussed but it was a unacceptable for Ed. In fact anything that squelched comments beyond the current paradigm was unacceptable to Ed Leonard and would have meant the end of the collaboration which, at the simplest level, would have reduced the available labor by half. The task of covering and reporting events was a daunting task for two owners (who also had other full-time jobs) but for only one it would have been impossible. So, the net effect of eliminating comments or even a more strict moderation regimen would have effectively rendered the endeavor impossible in its current form. To fill the gap would have required hiring someone and the funds were not there to support the position.

    As I said, I think there is hope for local news. I can see an approach that would allow for comments on a certain category of articles, like actions by the Town Council or the BoS or politics in general. These could carry a robust and diverse set of opinions and dialog. Political back and forth in the comments was never a point of contention. However, articles about Eagle Scouts, fundraisers, and cup stacking for example, did become problematic as far as comments were concerned and are probably not suited for the rigors of internet anonymous commentary, so they should not be subjected to them.

    Also, anonymity was a point of contention as well. While there are very legitimate reasons for anonymous comments, the reality on a site like the CDN in a community like Berryville is that they are more often only an excuse for rock throwing, not some altruistic beacon of free speech. However, it is impossible to know anyone’s identity online so any solution attempting to require “real people” is untenable as well.

    Finances are a different issue, but there were models that could work. Unfortunately, philosophical differences arose that prevented those plans from being implemented.

    • Alright, just trying to throw some ideas out there.

      I once saw a site like this one when I was stationed in North Carolina. Same type of issues. Since the comments were so popular, what they did was to have a “Page 2”, where all the Don Marro letters were posted and comments were allowed. They told everyone that it was an unmoderated free for all and to have at it. On the main page there were still stories about Eagle Scouts and little old ladies getting their hair done that allowed no instant comments. If you had a comment, you could write in and get the answer or perhaps get it posted.

      Internet anomity. Seems you’re worried about it, but frankly there is no way to prevent it. Hi, I’m Michael Dowling at mikedowling@ yahoo or hotmail or whatever .com. Behind a proxy server if I really want to go to the trouble. See what I mean?

      And lastly, as I said, seems you have a subscriber base here. Seems you might also have some volunteers for the site, if you want them. If cutting some folks off monetarily is an issue, I’ve seen papers that have free content, or the basics, to a certain point, then the rest of the story is for subscribers only.

      Just thoughts.

      It does seem as if you all have have a fan base, and from these comments it seems it’s comprised of more than just the regulars. People are commenting here I’ve never seen before, and perhaps that says something that some folks, who have never posted, have taken the time to post on this particular issue.

      Something to think about

      • It’s funny how many times you throw Marro under the bus when you, yourself has told others to read or not read comments that you made that bothered them. why do you not take you own advice?
        I hate to see the comment section go, but I was getting bored with you and AV. Same stuff every day on every article. we all got your point. The numerous times and the louder you say it doesn’t make it true.
        why don’t you and AV come clean as to your identity? Some of the rest of us have already.

        • I have to protect my secret identity, otherwise evil doers may do harm to my friends and family. In all seriousness, and once again, I seriously doubt anyone was standing behind you, twisting your arm and making you read the comments. Funny how a majority of the people here seemed to post from the left side of the spectrum, but got all wadded up over a few people that had opposing views. And you had just as much of an opportunity to post just as many opposing views. Your problem, and the problems of some of the others was that a lot of times you and others had nothing to back up your views except what was in your own minds. Roscoe and his completely warped version of history comes to mind. Whereas myself and others either posted links to back us up or relayed life experiences we’ve had.

          Again, no one forced you to read comments or to post replies.

          As for Don and his letters, I “threw him under the bus” simply because his views are so radical, his comments generate so much discussion and his letters had so many demonstrable errors. As I pointed out before, they also had the most comments/hits. CDN was surely aware of this and it was probably one the reasons he got so much press.

  56. Please don’t go!!!! Come on Ed, we need this site. Clarke county needs this site. We are willing to do without the comment section. The Star does not care about Clarke county. Please reconsider.

  57. A lot of blogs are tying their comments section to a person’s facebook account to eliminate the anonymity factor. To comment you have to use your facebook persona.

  58. Behind the Scenes says:

    Very sorry to see the paper go. Originally the paper was very local. If we had a question we could send an email and they would research it and write an article. I did this when there were a lot of power outages (not weather related) right after Rappahanock Co-op took over and for other issues. They were very responsive and it was very local.

    I could tell things changed when CDN started featured articles that were hot button issues of national scope (just to have the comments and readership go through the roof in my opinion).

    I hate comments section, especially when it degrades good people (teachers, scouts, etc) just trying to do their jobs. Comments section in national news is rough enough but in this paper it hits too close to home.

    In the old days the majority comments never would have seen the light of day for good reason. Many are not constructive, full of hate, and completely negative.

    As a society we are no longer allowed to politely disagree. Comments on the internet are another sign of our culture circling the drain and all press is culpable.

    Good for the CDN for standing up and sticking to their principles. I do wish there was a better solution for the editors. They both did an outstanding job and will be missed.

  59. ElinorDashwood says:

    I can’t imagine how it feels to be the Eagle Scout, the author of the Locket, the child with a lemonade stand, and SO many others that simply received recognition for a job well done or gave information and got negative comments only because someone feels like being hateful.
    That being said, I understand the need for anonymity in comments. This is such a small county that even if you don’t know a person by name, chances are that you know someone that does. The global theory of six degrees of separation does not apply here, it comes down to two at best. It is naïve to think that a person that lives and or works in this county could speak freely about school issues, town government, crime, religion or politics, if they are a teacher, government employee, police officer, member of any congregation, main street business owner or any business owner that provides a public service, and not personally suffer repercussions for speaking their mind on an issue.
    If Mike and Ed or anyone else decided to pick up the baton and re-instate CDN, I would suggest a separate page with a link you would actually have to click on to take you there…like a CDN Blog, where people could bring up issues or discuss articles without being actually attached to the article. They could do away with the thumbs up or down and not even moderate it, from what I understand most of the bigger news sites don’t. No matter what happens I just want to say again, thank you for a wonderful local newspaper, you will be missed.

  60. Jennifer Lee says:

    This is a real loss to our community – an invested, impassioned, and caring (for the most part) community. Thank you, Ed and Mike, for the wonderful job you did and service you provided. As someone involved in a number of non-profit organizations and events, I was always so grateful to have your coverage and support of these groups. Perhaps a mutually agreeable solution can be found in the future, but, if not, I wish you both the best of luck in your future endeavors and thank you for your contributions to our community.

  61. You can have the anonymity cake and eat it too, but well-run sites use accounts tied to an email address and impartial moderators.

    The comment process was out of control. Users did not have accounts that moderators could warn, suspend, or cancel so everything turned on how the commenters ran with a topic. The stories weren’t the center of activity, and I suspect the ad billing was geared to clicks so the commenters generated traffic. So CDN relied on a post-by-post redaction process that turned them into net nannies.

    • I disagree. It doesn’t matter if you tie an ID to an email account, those can be made up as well. The site was well run, but with only 2 guys doing everything, this was bound to happen.

      The verbal threats by some anonymous posters were what broke the camel’s back, imho.

      • “It doesn’t matter if you tie an ID to an email account, those can be made up as well.”

        Of course they can, but if you put the site behind a login gateway the moderators have the leverage of being able to privately warn, suspend, or ban a user. Verbal threats by a poster and said poster gets a tap on the shoulder from the ban hammer.

        The CDN software had that capability, but the feature was not used.

  62. Michelle Hayes says:

    Dear Ed & Mike,
    I cannot convey into words enough, my heartfelt gratitude to the both of you for providing me the opportunity, and platform for my writing. I’ve enjoyed nearly a year with you two gentlemen, and it was a pleasure. I pray that the good memories you’ve had with your paper ,outweigh the negative. CDN started with a thought, then it was born into something we all enjoyed. Both of you accomplished this, and both of you should be proud. I pray the journey ahead is filled with something just as great.
    In closing, for my loyal followers to ” The Locket,” please know that I will be posting the final chapters on
    You will be able to stay in tuned for future books as well.

  63. Another View says:

    Anonymity in comments is important, for many of the reasons pointed out by Elinor Dashwood, among others. But it is also in our greatest traditions. Ben Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, James Madison and others published political commentary under pseudonyms. A famous S. Ct. decision prevented the mandatory disclosure of NAACP members’ names, in order to protect their freedom of association and expression.

    And the comments were not hate filled. As an object of every Leftist’s ire, I can honestly say that I was not offended by the “passionate” comments directed to me. There was vigorous discussion; sadly, not all of it was substantive, as some did prefer name calling to debate. But it was not outrageous. Certainly nothing to cry over.

    And if you did not wish to read the comments, you were not obliged to. Anyone could read the stories without reading the comments.

    The truth is, the comments constituted a large portion of the CDN’s appeal. I will not speculate as to the editorial differences between the owners, but for myself, I seriously doubt that there is anything that can be said from the Left that would cause me to quit reading, or be disturbed. And clearly nothing from my direction caused such damage, as evidenced by the increasing numbers in response.

    Maybe the CDN will be resurrected; maybe not. And while I have no reason to question Mr. Dowling’s explanation for shutting down, I would take exception with any claim that the comments themselves were the cause. The comments did not shut down the CDN. The CDN shut down due to a decision by the owners.

    • “Anonymity in comments is important …”

      Self over group.

      If you can’t take the scrutiny of using your real name when you post by all means remain anonymous. Rest assured that many will discount what you say, even if you try to say it louder and more often.

      • Another View says:

        “Self over group.” Well yes, in a free society, founded on the notion of individual rights and liberties, that would be the default position. Individuals are what made this country. It was not government, it was individuals having the freedom to pursue their dreams. And individual liberties permit the attainment of those dreams. Individual liberty is why people from all over the world seek to come here.

        • Privately-held message boards have the right to censor or delete comments and to suspend and ban account holders. The owners can decide to emphasize group over self, if they believe that it brings harmony brought to discussion. Your inclusion of government into the discussion is moot as this isn’t a public space.

  64. Mom in 22611 says:

    Thank you both, Ed and Mike, for your service to the community. The Clarke Daily News helped keep the community informed and connected, and it will be missed.

  65. Thank you for all the stories and photographs that have helped unite and keep a community informed. Whether you were reporting about sports, politics, or everthing in between, your articles have been unbiased and that has been “refreshing”. The comments are what left a bitter taste. People had something negatiave to say about EVERYTHING, not just politics. (There is a constructive way to voice your opinion.) We too, read the articles and tuned out the negative comments. Please reconsider the site. You are now a part of Clarke County and “Life in Berryville”.

  66. Lifetime Resident says:

    I am sorry to see the CDN go. Sharing of local information is so important.
    However, Mike, I applaud you for having the backbone to stand up and say this is enough! News is valuable, but the multiple mean and hateful comments that appeared with every article were not. Over the years, I e-mailed your department several times, politely voicing my opinion that the comments section was counter productive to the cause. I am so appreciative that it did not fall on deaf ears. Kudos to you Mike, and I wish only the best to you in the future.
    Thanks !!
    “Lifetime Resident” aka Dennis S. Heflin Sr.

  67. Please continue the C.D.N. as a local news site, sans comments. Those who must compulsively spew their negativity under the guise of free speech can find another outlet. The local community will sufficiently finance and support a source for local news. Continue to make it as unbiased as possible, knowing that every “paper” has always had, and will always have, some degree of bias.

  68. I don’t know about charging for the site. When the Star started to charge for online use, I stopped reading. I liked reading the police reports here. Like everyone else, (except two) I got tired of every post turning into a GOP endorsement. The BOS , School Board, CCEF and like needed to hear what we all had to say. Our voice was heard, both pro and con. As for using real names, I am all for it. After all, I use mine. The comments should stay. I could see not keeping comments when it comes to someone’s achievements and such. Repeating the same political mumbo jumbo should be limited, especially since they got negative ratings by other readers. How many times can they say the same thing over and over?

  69. Duane Welsh says:

    This is sad to hear. After moving away 4.5 years ago it was one of the few ways to maintain my roots in the community that I grew up in. I hope that you reconsider keeping this up and running but I understand the reasons behind your decision. (The reasons are plastered all over this final “comments” section). Best of luck.

    Duane Welsh
    Winchester, VA

  70. My goodness. Seems the bickering won’t stop even with the farewell post. I would like to say, I personally enjoyed reading the comments. I never found anything that Roscoe or Donald Marro wrote “radical”. It’s nice to know that there are a few rational thinkers left in this crazy world, specifically here in the county. Sarge and AV did seem to lessen my faith in humanity a bit, but only because it is so difficult to ‘discuss’ when commenters (all) felt the need to defend themselves or opinions instead putting your thoughts out there and letting go. It’s a hard to do without getting emotional. I’ve enjoyed this publication since it started, I’m really sad to see it go and hope that Clarke County can find a way to fill the void soon. Local discussion is imperative to keeping citizens informed and active in the community.

  71. Denise Enger says:

    Noooo! Say it ain’t so! 🙁 I am so saddened by this news. I love my CDN! I want to thank you so much for the wonderful resource you provided for Clarke. I can only imagine the long hours that must have gone into creating and running the site; please know that it is truly appreciated. As many have already noted here – yes, sometimes the comment threads took on a life of their own, but I think most of us just mentally rolled our eyes and focused on the article in which we were interested in the first place. It is my sincere hope that some form of CDN will come to life again in the near future, and I will gladly be your first subscriber if need be!

  72. I appreciate the dedication and good work of the two editors of Clarke Daily News. This termination of local news is a terrible loss to our community. Take a timeout and please reconsider. This time, share many news stories with no comment section and have a few with a comment section. Maybe the comment section could be limited to 2 weeks. Many comments were good and varying opinions help readers see different perspectives.