Local investors in Fauquier County recently signed documents to buy the weekly Fauquier Times from Loudoun-based Virginia News Group. Terms were not disclosed.
The investors are comprised of a group of citizens, from throughout the county, who wanted to improve the local community newspaper.
“For the first time in recent memory, the Times will be locally owned and locally managed,” said George R. Thompson, chairman of Piedmont Media LLC, representing the investors. “Our goal is a newspaper that is as good and as honest and as able as are the people of Fauquier County,” Thompson added. “We have a lot of work to do before we get there.”
Virginia News Group, also publisher of Loudoun Times-Mirror, is owned by Middleburg resident, Peter Arundel. The company was founded by Arundel’s father, Arthur “Nick” Arundel, in 1963 with the purchase of the Loudoun Times-Mirror.
“Our readers and advertisers in Fauquier are very well-served by this transaction”, said Arundel, adding, “The buyers are very passionate about this county and the vital role that the paper plays in nurturing its special character.”
The first edition under the new ownership will be distributed on August 24. The local owners are investing in expanded coverage of the topics of greatest interest to the residents of the county. Their primary objective is to improve, over time, reporting and presentation of news, local business, events, agriculture, conservation, sports, equestrian and other features. Over time, the layout of the paper will also be improved.
Under the new ownership, the opinion page will take a more balanced stance.
“Our policy is an editorial page that is straight down the middle. We will be guided by our readers, not by special interest” Thompson explained.
The transaction includes the digital Fauquier.com which Thompson said will be expanded to eventually include new products, expanded social media and mobile apps. It also includes the Prince William and Gainesville papers as well as special publications InFauquier and Piedmont Business Journal.
The Fauquier Times traces its roots back 200 years, having changed names and publication frequency over the years. In 1905, it became the Fauquier Democrat and later changed its name to the Fauquier Times Democrat. In 2013, the newspaper shortened its name to the Fauquier Times.
“We are excited to kick off this venture and to be able to do this for the community,” Thompson said. “We believe the residents and businesses will be very pleased with our changes.”