Advertising FAIL: Germanna Community College.

I was on my way to Richmond this morning on I-95S around 7:30 p.m. listening to the D.J. on 95.9FM (WGRQ). For those unfamiliar with the station, 95.9FM is the self-described “home for the SuperHits of The 60’s & 70’s”, which means this play the same oldies/classic rock every hour. I keep them preset on my radio since they do — on occasion — play some decent classic rock songs (remembering that I’m 21 years old here).

But to get to the point of this blog post, while the D.J. was going into weather or traffic he stated something to the effect of: “Sponsored by Germanna Community College. Inquire about our dual-enrollment program for high school students.”

Advertising a program targeted at high school students. On a oldies/classic rock station.

Do I have to explain how asinine that is? 99.9% of high school students would not voluntarily listen to that station in the first place (and I only tune to it if my other five stations come up with nothing decent). And if for some reason they are in a car with their parents who happen to listen to the station, the youths are going to be listening to music on their iPod or texting or their mobile: i.e., not listening to the ad.

In other words, no one that Germanna Community College is targeting with that advertisement is hearing it.

Advertising FAIL.

If you want to know what’s going to be in The Free Lance–Star a week in advance, just check out my blog.

What a rag. They can’t seem to get by without going to, and taking stories from, my and other’s lowly little hate-blogs.

On September 14, 2008, I published a post about how the fine folks at Germanna Community College decided to spend money to send staff to India to find IT internships for people at the college.

On September 21, 2008, The Free Lance–Star published a story talking about how great the whole trip was. The college spends $12,000 that’s supposed to go to “professional development” to send staff on a trip to India, and it’s a great thing!

You gotta love when a newspaper caters to whomever is in a position of power.

I’ve heard of this mythical place to the north called “Novaville”, it’s supposed to contain hundreds — if not thousands — of technology companies that need interns.

So instead of getting local technology companies involved in the college, they think that students have thousands of dollars to go to India for an internship during a sagging economy. According to, a round-trip to India is going to cost you at least $1,100 in airfare alone (and that’s if you schedule it for January, five months in advance).

For that cost, you could pay for 12 credit hours at Germanna instead.

I just hope they don’t plan on setting up any internships in Delhi since “a top tourist spot” just got hit by a suicide bombing that killed 60 people and wounded 150 more (CNN). “India ranks among the countries where terrorism is most common” as well, according to the United States State Department (Ibid).

They really don’t seem to have problems like that in Novaville.

And The Free Lance–Star didn’t just happen upon that trip-to-India story on their own. There were visits to my blog from the paper at around 9:47 a.m. on September 15, 2008 going to the post I did. Then there were dozens of hits from the Virginia Community College System that started at 11:20 a.m. on the same day — going directly to that post — as if someone had e-mailed them a link.

Further, this trip to India happened two months ago, and the news story about it doesn’t even appear on Germanna’s homepage anymore.

Of course, this isn’t the first time something like this has happened.

Take for example, the resignation of Caroline County Finance Director Garland Adkins: The story was originally posted on Tom James’s blog on October 11, 2007, with quotes from, at the time, a non-password protected employee page.

On October 14, 2007, The Free Lance–Star published a story announcing Adkins’s resignation citing the employee page. No mention of Tom James’s blog was in the story. Are we to believe that someone from the paper just happened to wonder onto the county’s employee page?

On June 15, 2008, I published a post pointing out that Haymount had been bought out for $21,500,000.

On June 22, 2008, The Free Lance–Star published a story about Haymount being bought out.

Those aren’t the only times it has occurred, but I’m too lazy to track the other articles involved.

Hell, if they don’t have anything better to do, people from The Free Lance–Star will kindly point out when I use the wrong tense of a verb.

Frankly, why should I allow them to take stuff that I post on my blog, and use it for commercial profit?

I’m not making money of this site. Sure, I have ads on the page but it doesn’t offset the cost of the hosting package.

That’s why, beginning at midnight tonight, access from that rag of a paper will be blocked.

We can do it, we have the technology.

Actually, it’s pretty easy, just a few lines in the .htaccess file and boom, we’re done.

No worries, no one outside the people at the paper will be affected.

I guess they will have to find another source for news in the area.

So, what’s that $18,000,000 “technology center” at Culpeper doing?

From The Free Lance–Fish Wrap:

Germanna Community College may lose state funding if it can’t come up with its share for a third building at its Fredericksburg-area campus.

Last year, Gov. Tim Kaine presented a bond package that included $23.3 million for the building at the Massaponax site.

But before construction can start, the college needs to raise $2.6 million locally. Fundraising has barely begun.

Well, folks, instead of building the Daniel “Technology Center” (DTC) at Culpeper, you could have used the money to build Phase III at Fredericksburg (FAC III) years ago.

But, instead of expanding a campus that’s located close to the population hubs of the area (Spotsylvania and Stafford Counties and the city of Fredericksburg), they decided to build a new campus in Culpeper.

Right now, there’s talk of moving the nursing program that is currently located at the Locust Grove campus (LGC) to FAC III when it’s complete. That would work well because of the new hospital that is being built by HCA at Massaponax.

Right now, the Daniel “Technology Center” in Culpeper — a 40,000 square foot building — is only hosting 30 classes worth a total of 90 credit hours. That’s 444.44 square feet per credit hour.

Meanwhile, Phase II of the Fredericksburg Area Campus (FAC II) — also a 40,000 square foot building — is hosting 160 classes worth a total of 514 credit hours. That’s 77.82 square feet per credit hour.

And if the campus in Culpeper is supposed to be a “technology center”, it ain’t doing a very good job of it. This semester, there are only two IT classes being taught at DTC worth six credit hours, and both of those classes are a basic Microsoft Windows and Office competency class (ITE-115).

Meanwhile, FAC II is hosting 32 IT classes worth 100 credit hours, including 22 Windows/Office competency classes, one computer science class, a computer-aided design (CAD) class, three database-related classes, three computer networking-related classes (including the first part of the curriculum that allows for Cisco Certified Network Associate certification), and two computer programming classes.

More than one instructor that I’ve talked to at Germanna has stated that it’s impossible to get instructors to drive out to Culpeper, and when they do schedule classes out there, they only have two or three people sign up.

Real good use of $18,000,000, eh?

One of those "working vacations"!
One of those "working vacations"!

The college might also have money to build buildings if they didn’t send their staff on vacations trips to India.

I guess it was one of those patented “working vacations” that Supervisor Wayne Acors and (former) Supervisor Calvin Taylor were talking about when they went to Hawaii to learn about rural roads (snort).

One regular donor to the college stated that he was seriously considering not donating any more to the college after the trip to India fiasco.

The college also needs to find a source of money to expand the parking lot at FAC, especially since their current parking capacity can’t handle the number of students they have now! Who knows how bad the situation is going to be after they add another building to the mix?