This story is part of a series highlighting stories from the front lines of local news reporting in Virginia. It is presented as part of the Virginia Local News Summit, co-hosted with the …
The Richmond Free Press, an African-American weekly newspaper, was established in 1992, but if it seems much older it may be because its late founder, Raymond H. Boone, was at the center of covering the struggle for civil rights for half a century.
Five mornings a week, the large and growing Korean-American community in Northern Virginia and the Washington metro area can get the news in their native language thanks to the Korea Times, a 52-year-old daily whose Los Angeles parent also publishes local editions in other major U.S. cities.
“The daily grind of putting out a small community newspaper is an enormous effort and a huge sacrifice,” said Emily Oaks, former editor of the Culpeper Star-Exponent.
Danny Clark takes exception to the State of Local News project’s judgment that King and Queen County is a news desert. “We’ve had a local paper for the last 33 years,” said the publisher of the Country Courier, a twice-a-month publication filled with feel-good features and ads. But the State of Local News counts only dailies and weeklies, and it assesses whether they publish enough hard news, including covering local government and school boards.
Norman Styer has devoted his career to reporting news in Loudoun County, an outer Washington suburb that has quintupled in population over 30 years and is now Virginia’s third-most populous county. He signed on as Leesburg Today’s first full-time reporter in 1989 and was editor-in-chief in 2015 when rival Leesburg Times-Mirror purchased it and shut it down the next day.
VPM, the public broadcaster in Richmond, calls itself “Virginia’s Home for Public Media,” but not long ago it had only a skeleton news staff that basically was just reading news briefs, according to Elliott Richardson, the current news editor. “It was effectively three people.”
WHRO Public Media began broadcasting educational television shows in Norfolk and Hampton in 1961 and went on to expand in reach and capabilities through four television and five radio stations.
Two weeklies in rural counties near the Blue Ridge struggled to get by with staffs too small to cover all the issues important to residents’ lives. Then they got help from two tax-exempt community organizations created to save local journalism.