Giles Morris

Giles Morris grew up the son of a Washington D.C. journalist and a Congressional press secretary and claims to be a fifth generation newsman on his father's side, which is hard to get your head around, but means effectively that working with words is in the blood. Prior to taking the editor-in-chief job at C-VILLE Weekly in July 2011, he learned his trade putting in shifts at the Rhinelander Daily News, the Smoky Mountain News, and the Tuckasegee Reader, an online newspaper he co-founded. Giles has also spent time as a high school English teacher on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota and as a community organizer in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood and managed to pick up a masters degree from Harvard Divinity School along the way. His many interests include the great outdoors, jogo bonito, American literature, and whooping it up (occasionally).

Photo: Wikipedia commons.

Editor’s note: Gone fishing

For the past three years, I have pictured you out there, The Reader, and written these weekly letters to you (this being the last one, I promise), even though I know they can’t possibly get through, since you aren’t you at all, but many, many people going about the business of life in this locality […]

The Dome Room. Photo: Jack Looney.

Editor’s Note: Hello, goodbye

It’s kind of a cliché that any media person who comes to town has his eyes fixed on the Rotunda and the Mountain first. Apart from the novelty and force of Jefferson’s attraction, there’s the instinct that you’ve got to understand how Monticello and the University work before you get the rest of the place. […]

Photo: Jack Looney.

Editor’s Note: Work and the ‘ville

This job brought me to town. I remember the process of circulating my resume three years ago, starting in early spring, a good time for changes, and winding up in an hour-long phone conversation with Frank Dubec, C-VILLE’s publisher at the time. It’s a six-hour drive from North Carolina’s Tuckasegee River valley to Charlottesville and […]

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet. Photo: Imago/ZUMAPRESS.com

Editor’s Note: Om and the postmodern problem

I first encountered the om prayer in the pages of Rudyard Kipling’s British Colonial picaresque novel, Kim, in which the protagonist teams up with a wise and seemingly guileless Tibetan monk to foil Russian gun runners in the Khyber Pass. Apart from being a writer with Dickens’ touch in depicting the varieties in language and […]

Editor’s Note: History or his story?

Editor’s Note: History or his story?

“We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal. . .” read Justice Earl Warren’s majority opinion in the case of Brown v. Board of Education, handed down lo these 60 years. It was the beginning of the end for […]

Editor’s Note: A mind of winter

Editor’s Note: A mind of winter

I am sure I’ve been guilty of searching for metaphors where there were none. Whenever I’ve been around scientists for a prolonged period of time, I’ve been told as much. Sometimes the weather is just the weather. But I can’t help thinking that our obsession with storms speaks to some larger force—not climate change, though […]

Editor’s Note: Love letters

Editor’s Note: Love letters

I don’t write a lot of love letters. In fact, I don’t write many letters at all, which is a shame, because I love letters. It may have something to do with the fact that I work at a newspaper, or that I write a column that uses the word ‘I’ and blends a public […]

Editor’s Note: Everybody’s a critic

Editor’s Note: Everybody’s a critic

What does an artist need? A clean, well-lit place? Genius? A tortured soul? Or is the answer less poetic? Cheap rent, time to spare, and a bit of pocket money. Does an artist need theory, training, and genius underneath it all? Or will his art spring like a geyser from the darkest, deepest place in […]

Editor’s Note: To your health

Editor’s Note: To your health

You might have noticed there’s a little tag on the front of our newspaper commemorating 25 years in business. Our company started in 1989, the year the Berlin Wall came down, signalling an end to the Cold War and the dawning of the age of global capital and ethnic conflict. Cultural barriers, concrete and abstract, […]

Editor’s Note: The melting pot

Editor’s Note: The melting pot

When we publish our food listings magazine, Bites + Sites, the restaurant categories are always a bit of a conundrum. What do you do with a Russian-Turkish bakery or a French-owned restaurant that serves Virginia food or an Algerian-Mediterranean fusion joint or a Nepali-Indian place? When I was growing up in the ’80s, the Cold […]

Editor’s Note: The problem of scale

Editor’s Note: The problem of scale

I knew an old real estate boss in Western North Carolina who once offered me a piece of advice about growing a business. “It ain’t hard to make water come out of a pipe,” he said. “The hard part is sizing the pipe to get pressure.” I’ve had other people offer me unsolicited advice about […]

Editor’s Note: On soul searching

Editor’s Note: On soul searching

I’ve been asked many times why I got a divinity degree, and there isn’t a simple answer. When I think about the enduring weight of student loans and the concrete impact it’s had on my professional life (virtually none), I begin to wonder myself. But that kind of hindsight sells short my own path, ignores […]

Editor’s Note: The scoop on Christmas

Editor’s Note: The scoop on Christmas

Every journalist gets into the business because he likes answering questions of one kind or another. Who’s moving the money behind the scenes? What color was the getaway car? When was the last time the budget was short? Where, exactly, does the water end up? Good reporters answer a lot of questions, but the essence […]

Weather permitting, he can often be found working in his open-air office outside his home in White Hall, where he’s lived for 23 years. Photo courtesy Pete Myers.

Editor’s Note: The consumer’s environment

In 1965 Ralph Nader published Unsafe at Any Speed, destroying the unimpeachable authority of The Big Three and American manufacturing by tugging on a loose strand, the accident statistics of the Chevrolet Corvair. Nader became the voice of the American middle class and rode a wave of consumer advocacy to national prominence. Maybe for the […]

Jack Kerouac. Photo: Tom Palumbo.

Editor’s Note: On the road and back again

Widely interpreted as a metaphor for J.R.R. Tolkien’s personal experience during World War I and afterwards, The Hobbit was originally published in 1937 with the alternative title There and Back Again. A comfortable bourgeois man is vacuumed out of his house into a global struggle between good and evil, then returns to the shire changed […]

Photo:  MARCUS BRANDT EPA Newscom

Editor’s Note: The business of stories

A perilous predicament: As we worry that our written language is being degraded by fractured modes of digital communication, there has never been a time when more people thought of themselves as writers. Journalism schools and MFA programs are full to the gills; self-publishing tools have made every retired person with a memory an autobiographer; […]

Editor’s Note: Living with Gabe’s spirit

Editor’s Note: Living with Gabe’s spirit

Gabe Silverman died over the weekend. If you never met him, it’s your loss, but if you hung around the Downtown Mall much, you probably did. He was a real estate developer, I guess you could say, but he never dressed like one. Sometimes he looked like a super, puttering around in his green pickup […]

Editor’s Note: Turning the camera around

Editor’s Note: Turning the camera around

A reader recently called what I do in this column “simple-minded pablum.” Another reader, maybe I could even call him a fan, called it “an interpretive ethnography of our own people.” It’s not, as you know already, an editorial column in the strictest sense. I don’t interpret the news. Most of the time I don’t […]

Ghost enthusiast Nan Coleman routinely witnesses unexplained phenomena in and around Charlottesville. "There's nothing more frustrating than when you know you've seen something and people give you The Look," she said. Photo: Elli Williams

Editor’s Note: The spirit in the season

When I stepped outside Saturday morning, buzzards were roosting in a bare tree at the back of the yard. The plants had frozen during the week and, taken together, the natural signals set off a kind of frenzy in me. I harvested the carrots and whatever else was left growing and trimmed the shrubs to […]

David Toscano at his High Street law office. Photo: Elli Williams.

Editor’s Note: Politics aside

The more I think about Tip O’Neill’s old adage “All politics is local,” the less it makes sense. When I first heard it in the ’80s, it sounded spot on. People care about their wallets and their backyards, and when they vote, they express those local priorities. But consider the negative space the phrase defines. […]

Photo: Jack Looney

Editor’s Note: Local football and global politics

I’m not worried about the government shutdown or the debt ceiling crisis. Neither, apparently, is Wall Street. I feel totally disconnected from the theater of the absurd on Capitol Hill. It’s funny to think that the first home I lived in was blocks away from the Capitol and that my father worked in Congress. Two […]

Photo: Ian Nichols.

Editor’s Note: The price of evolution

How much would you pay to save someone you love? Everything? How much, then, to save something you love from being lost forever? Depends on the value of the thing in question, right? Yet another magic mushrooming of the Internet spore is our obsession with price points. Forget coupon clipping, from E*Trade to eBay, you […]

Love Canon formed out of the ashes of local bluegrass powerhouse Old School Freight Train. Vocalist/guitarist Jesse Harper and mandolin/banjo picker Adam Larrabee were killing time on a long drive down I-81 when they first stumbled on the idea of playing ’80s hits through a bluegrass filter. Photo: Chris Pecoraro

Editor’s Note: The grass is greener

I remember reading a think piece somewhere (probably in The Stone blog) that talked about the correlation between musical training and academic achievement in school aged children. In the comments stream, a guy had written from France to say how “American” the story was. The intrinsic value of music was somehow not enough to justify […]