This month it’s been two years since Dennis Brack purchased the Culpeper Times from Peter Arundel, owner of the Virginia News Group.
We learned yesterday that after months, in fact nearly a year in negotiations, that the Fauquier Times has been sold to a local group of investors in Fauquier County. Also owned by the Virginia News Group, that leaves Peter Arundel with one product in Loudoun County – the Loudoun Times Mirror.
My roots in local journalism go back to 2000 when I started with the then Fauquier Times Democrat. First working in the advertising department and then quickly taking on the position of education writer on the editorial side. That lasted for several years before taking on the position of managing editor at the Rappahannock News ( a newspaper that Brack also purchased from Arundel in 2012).
In November I will have been at the helm of the Culpeper Times for eight years.
It’s dismaying to watch the roller coaster of this industry. My memories take me back to times when the papers owned by the Arundels numbered more than 20 and 300 employees worked at newspapers comprising a broad area. Those were the days of strong, committed newspaper families like the Arundels and the Byrds and others who saw value in preserving community news.
Now, there are a handful of local newspapers hanging on in a media landscape that has changed significantly over the years.
We’re one of them.
Digital or print or both or more?
The dance continues as more and more of our information is found online or on apps through our Smartphones.
Still I had a conversation with Randy Yeiser, the manager of Dairy Queen, the other day. His is one of the many locations where the Culpeper Times is distributed each week. He told me that when the copies come in, they quickly leave as residents read through the pages while munching on lunch or a snack break.
“Folks really like it,” he told me. “You’re doing a good job.”
There are a cadre of readers who still prefer newsprint to computer keys. It’s actually refreshing to be able to still hold onto newspapers, magazines and to be able to leaf through the pages of your favorite novel. Something about the textual quality adds ambiance to an age old method of reading about your town and community.
So, at this two-year juncture, I’d like to thank our publisher Dennis Brack for embracing the entrepreneurship of tackling local newspapers at a time when they are shifting hands nationwide, regrouping, restrategizing and fighting for survival. I’d especially like to thank our advertisers and contributors for their continued support. It is, in fact, a partnership, a collaborative effort to make local journalism relevant and financially sound.
Ah, the stuff of stories, you gotta love it and believe that it’s worth sharing and preserving.
Anita Sherman may be reached at email@example.com