How Do Water Street, South Street & Friendship Court Fit Into The Future Of The Charlottesville Downtown Mall??


Editor’s Note: This is episode three in a four episode Hawes Spencer series.

How do Water Street and South Street fit into the future of The Downtown Mall as it migrates south toward the Ix Art Park?

How will Friendship Court and Crescent Halls Apartments be integrated into this vision and development?

If the Belmont Bridge Project is done correctly, can we include the Belmont Neighborhood and Downtown Belmont into the future of the Charlottesville Downtown Mall?

I discussed a lot of these questions with Hawes Spencer, the former owner and publisher of The Hook newspaper, on The I Love CVille Show powered by Greenberry’s Coffee in Barracks Road.

Editor’s Note: This is episode two in a four episode Hawes Spencer series.

When Hawes Spencer walked into the C-VILLE Weekly offices on Monday, January 7, 2002, he didn’t know that his life was about to change forever.

Spencer, the editor of the C-Ville Weekly at the time and a co-owner of the newspaper with partners Bill Chapman and Rob Jiranek, entered the newsroom located at 100 South Street around 8:30 am that day.

“I was doing my job at the helm of the C-Ville Weekly, and one day I come in, and my two partners said, ‘You’re fired!” Spencer remembered. “And I said, “WHAT?!?!'”

Spencer acknowledged that the three co-owners were bickering over how to allocate corporate profits. Spencer, who was seen as the “face of the newspaper,” wanted to share the profits, he said, but Chapman and Jiranek had other ideas.

“I wanted ‘one for all and all for one’ and they were arguing for more for them and less for me because I was just an editor and they were publishers. … So they fired me.”

An argument could certainly be presented that Spencer made a strategic error when he welcomed partners into his newspaper business. Spencer owned 90% of the newspaper from 1990-1994 when it was still called the C-Ville Review (Chapman, who launched the paper with Spencer as roommates, owned 10%). In September, 1994, Spencer whittled his ownership to one-third shares to accommodate Chapman and Jiranek as equal partners.

When the dust settled, Chapman and Jiranek conspired to boot Spencer from his company, Spencer said. They eventually succeeded on Thursday, January 10, 2002 when Spencer’s wife at the time, Mary, a beloved former WVIR NBC29 news anchor, was nine months pregnant with their third child.

Pissed-off, frustrated, motivated and needing to provide for his family, Spencer, who is self-proclaimed ADHD, sprung into action. Within three weeks of his official pink slip, Spencer had conceived the idea for a new newspaper, assembled what he calls “a dream team” of talented newspaper personnel, developed the name and brand identity for the publication, created the content for the first issue, including a “legit cover story,” and printed the paper to compete head-to-head with his former partners.

And just like that “The Hook” was born.

“The name was literally chosen, maybe, 10 days before the publication came out,” Spencer remembered. “Here was the nicest thing of all. … The day of [first] publication, my third child was born.

“The assistant art director made a sign that said, ‘Congratulations, Hawes. Two babies in one day.'”

This Hawes Spencer interview on The I Love CVille Show powered by Intrastate Pest & Service Co’s is a compelling look into the world of Charlottesville, Virginia journalism from 1990 – 2013, including the behind-the-scenes conversations and strategic maneuvers that led to the demise of Spencer’s relationship with Chapman and Jiranek at the C-VILLE Weekly and later Spencer’s rise to power as the publisher of The Hook newspaper.

The Hook enjoyed 12 years of prominence and readership before it crumbled in 2013 like the many print publications that struggled to adapt to the internet and smartphones.

You can purchase Spencer’s book by clicking this link: “Summer Of Hate”

Editor’s Note: This is episode one in a four episode Hawes Spencer series.

Spencer, a prolific award-winning journalist and the former co-owner and publisher of The Hook newspaper, has recently authored a book called “Summer Of Hate,” which is an unbiased account of August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Va.

Spencer, who also covered A12 for The New York Times, sat down with me to discuss his new book and a multitude of other Charlottesville, Va news stories.

At the 2-minute, 16-second marker, Spencer explains why he “almost said no to the project because people hold very close to their hearts their view of what Charlottesville means, and I didn’t think there was any chance that I was going to please everyone. But that’s the nature of journalism, you’re not going to please everyone.”

Spencer also discusses how local filmmakers Jackson Landers and Brian Wimer and their movie “Charlottesville: Our Streets” influenced his “process” of writing the book.

“I was aware of the criticism that they encountered [when making their film],” Spencer said. “Consequently, I told no one other than a few close friends that I was working on the book.”

In the end, Spencer understood the magnitude and importance of this project.

“I was convinced that this was important world history that I was honored to be asked to record, so I did.”

You can purchase Spencer’s book by clicking this link: “Summer Of Hate”

If you liked this article, you might also enjoy Journalist Hawes Spencer Discusses His New Book: “Summer Of Hate” And Other Charlottesville, Va Events On The I Love CVille Show and Is Charlottesville, Virginia A Better Place Today Than It Was 30 Years Ago?

At I Love CVille, we feature the best of Charlottesville, Virginia. You’re going to love the I Love CVille network.

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CEO Jerry Miller

Jerry Miller is the CEO of The Miller Organization, The I Love CVille Network, VMV Brands, The Blue Ridge Venture Fund and I Love CVille Real Estate, which are all headquartered in Downtown Charlottesville, Virginia. Jerry is passionate about the #ShopLocal movement and supporting locally-owned businesses. Get to know Jerry at