Two years ago, this newspaper’s longtime publisher, the late Arthur “Nick” Arundel, who loved the Rappahannock News because he loved Rappahannock County, decided it was time to sell. At about the same time, he sold another rural, county-seat-based paper, the Clarke Courier in Berryville.
Today, the Courier no longer exists, but the Rappahannock News is thriving. The reason is simple: The Courier’s new owner was apparently more interested in quick, positive cash flow than in a long-term commitment serving the community, while here in Rappahannock the owners have understood that serving the community successfully translates into a customer-driven bottom line.
And now the Rappahannock News welcomes a new and younger owner. His name is Dennis Brack. Nick Arundel would be pleased, I suspect. For Dennis got his journalistic start as an intern for Arundel’s flagship publication, the Fauquier Times-Democrat.
Dennis, as they often say about professionals in the publishing business, has ink in his blood. His father was an award-winning photographer for Life and Time magazines as well as other publications. His uncle headed the magazine division of Time, Inc. And Dennis himself has worked for a number of newspapers around the country, most recently The Washington Post.
Although his blood may be inky, Dennis understands that the newspapers of tomorrow, in order to survive financially, will use less and less ink on paper as they become ever more digital. Like Roger Piantadosi, the Rappahannock News editor, Dennis has spent lots of time and energy figuring out electronic media’s cutting edge.
But what’s constant in a changing media landscape is the continuing need for local, community-based journalism, and Dennis is committed to that — no matter what the precise platform over which the news is delivered. As a 36-year-old, he is bringing new (yet inky) blood to the Rappahannock News, but the newspaper’s traditional values will endure.
Happy New Year!