Monthly Milestone: Archiving Ads, Bylines

Best wishes from The Chronicle to Helen Nevius

Editor’s Note: The monthly milestone column, which appears on the second day of each month – the anniversary of The Ann Arbor Chronicle’s launch – is an opportunity for either the publisher or the editor of The Chronicle to touch base with readers on topics related to this publication.

Dave Askins

This is an example of a future Chronicle "house ad." The drawing was done by former Ann Arbor News artist Tammie Graves, and the ad itself was designed by Laura Fisher.

In last month’s milestone message, I focused on the idea that part of The Chronicle’s aspiration is to establish a valuable archive of our community’s civic history. The corpus of The Chronicle comprises an independent record of the events of our public bodies, the words spoken at their meetings and their actions taken.

This month I’d like to focus on a different aspect of the accumulating Chronicle archive. One is advertisements – different ads are inserted “on the fly” every time a new page is loaded. So will they be archived in any meaningful sense?

Another angle on The Chronicle archive are the bylines that appear in the publication. Our publication was launched by two people, who reported, wrote, and edited all of the articles.

The collection of bylines now includes a fairly robust collection of freelance writers. And this month I want to tell you about a byline that you won’t be seeing here for the next long while, perhaps ever again – but it’s for all the right reasons.


Chronicle advertisements, which appear in the left and right sidebars of the site, are inserted each time a page is loaded onto your computer screen, in a random rotation scheme. The computer code for that scheme was programmed by a Workantile Exchange co-worker of mine, Trek Glowacki.

Another Workantile Exchange co-worker, Tom Brandt, pointed out to me in casual conversation recently that a plan to archive all of The Chronicle articles wouldn’t necessarily result in archiving the advertisements. Not unless there was a plan for it.

I certainly would like to include the advertisements in any permanent archive. Why? As I explained in last month’s milestone column:

Sure, in an unguarded moment, I’ll indulge in the reverie that Ann Arbor’s 2110 version of Laura Bien will be mining The Chronicle archives and writing – for some next-century information distribution system – an article called “The Man Who Loved Parking Meters.”

Laura Bien, of course, writes the local history column for The Chronicle. A recent column of hers, “In the Archives: 10 Least Persuasive Ads,” included 10 ads published in newspapers over 100 years ago.

That column of hers pretty well cinched it – the ads needed a safe place in our archives.

And so, to my monthly duties, I’ve added a little job that consists of rounding up all the graphics for the current adds and collecting them into a stand-alone page for the Chronicle. Here’s the June 2010 archive. We’ll include links to those graphics archives in the current list of links in our summary of advertisers.


Part of the information that will be archived with each article published in The Chronicle is the byline. Some readers probably won’t have noticed that the set of bylines over the last year has grown more diverse. Others, who pay attention to details like that, will have noticed, for example, that Jennifer Coffman began covering the Ann Arbor Public Schools board of trustees for The Chronicle earlier this spring.

For readers who pay attention to bylines, the name Helen Nevius will be familiar as the reporter who broke an interesting Washtenaw Community College offsite board retreat story. She also has filed some of the recent Ann Arbor District Library board meeting reports, and has written several other pieces as she traced an arc, over the last year and a half, from an Eastern Michigan University intern for The Chronicle to a paid freelance writer.

Helen is moving to Chicago – to attend Northwestern University’s Medill graduate school of journalism. We’ll miss Helen. But we’ve got her byline secured, safe and sound in The Chronicle’s archives.

And in the future, when Helen’s byline turns up in other publications, it will read “Helen Adamopoulos” – she and Sotiri Adamopoulos were married last Sunday at Cobblestone Farm.

We wish Helen and Sotiri all the best.

About the writer: Dave Askins is co-founder and editor of The Ann Arbor Chronicle.


  1. July 2, 2010 at 10:07 am | permalink

    Helen will indeed be missed. Her work was excellent.

  2. By Rod Johnson
    July 2, 2010 at 11:27 am | permalink

    Congratulations to Helen. It’s been great watching her grow as a reporter during her tenure here.

  3. July 2, 2010 at 3:34 pm | permalink

    That is interesting, that the ads are loaded “on the fly”. It explains a problem I had a couple of weeks ago in searching for a particular ad. I wanted to extract information from it but when I went back to that page, I couldn’t find it.

    As far as I can tell, there is no search function for ads. How can readers return to a particular ad when wished? Some of them are very timely, for specific events, etc.

  4. By cosmonıcan
    July 2, 2010 at 3:53 pm | permalink

    Re: [3} Vivienne, each ad has a “View All Advertisers” banner at the bottom, click on that to find a searchable list.

  5. By Dave Askins
    July 2, 2010 at 4:03 pm | permalink

    Re: [3] and [4]. For a visual display of what ads are currently in the system, this [link] will cause current ads to be slammed onto the screen all at once. In that URL is this ( to me) mysterious “heroku” which magic Trek has used to make the ads flow into the sidebars the way they do. It’s that screen I will start with to create the static monthly snapshot, which is hosted inside the Chronicle’s domain, thus effectively archiving them.

  6. July 2, 2010 at 4:57 pm | permalink

    That’s an awesome drawing of you, dude.

  7. July 2, 2010 at 5:04 pm | permalink

    Thanks, nice that they are so easily searched and archived. Some historical information there.

  8. By Pete Richards
    July 5, 2010 at 11:23 pm | permalink

    Tammie Graves, my goodness you’re talented.

  9. By suswhit
    July 6, 2010 at 7:32 am | permalink

    I second comment no. 8!

  10. By Rod Johnson
    July 6, 2010 at 10:31 am | permalink

    You mean that’s not a photograph?

  11. By Helen
    July 9, 2010 at 11:44 am | permalink

    Thanks, Dave! I’m going to miss you and Mary and the Chronicle, too. It’s been great working for you guys. And thanks to those who’ve wished me well in the comments. :)