What is the DTM?

In 2012, I created the DTM as a “blog” and Facebook page about the Downtown Mall in Charlottesville, a dramatic reimagining of downtown Main Street that turned eight city blocks into a pedestrian mall in 1976. The mall languished for nearly two decades before a largely underground art, food, and music scene (the Dave Matthews Band, C-Ville Weekly, The Hook, Fridays After Five, and the VA book and film festivals were all formed there) emerged in the mid-80s and early 90s, followed by a commercial renaissance. It has been a city centerpiece for culture and controversy ever since, an evolving urban experiment, and was ground zero for the deadly Unite the Right rally in August 2017. Locals have always used “DTM” as a shorthand for the mall.

Today, the DTM’s coverage has expanded beyond the downtown mall and the platforms have changed, but the fun and independent-minded approach to local journalism remains the same.

What’s more, the DTM and other independent journalism efforts have found themselves filling a void in a rapidly shrinking local news landscape. Between 2005 and 2009, the reporting staff at our local paper the Daily Progress went from 42 people to 18 people, which was seen as grim development at the time. But it has become much worse. Today, only 3 full-time news reporters are covering a metropolitan area of 235,000 people.

Your support for the DTM and similar efforts helps to keep Charlottesville from becoming a news desert.

I’ve been a writer and editor in some form or another most of my life and was a staff writer for The Hook for nearly a decade. You can find out more about me here.

Thanks for reading!

— David McNair

Good stuff from what seems to be the best news source in Charlottesville.” — Rick Tetzeli, editor-at-large, Fast Company Magazine.

What the DTM brings to local news—besides McNair’s institutional knowledge—is a zestier writing style than more established media.” - C-Ville Weekly


Reading the DTM is free but getting a paid subscription makes that possible. New posts can be read for two weeks before they are archived for paid subscribers.

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Thanks to Bob Beard, a Founding Member subscriber since July 17, 2020.

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Independent reporting, commentary, and analysis from a long-time Charlottesville journalist.


Award-winning journalist and writer from Charlottesville, Virginia.