It was announced Friday (July 11) that the Culpeper Times, a local weekly under the umbrella of the Virginia News Group, was sold to Rappahannock Media, owner of the Rappahannock News.
Publisher and chief executive officer Peter W. Arundel said he is pleased that the new owner, Dennis Brack, is someone familiar with and very passionate about local journalism. This week’s edition of the Culpeper Times marks the very first under the ownership of Washington-based Rappahannock Media, LLC, which also publishes the Rappahannock News and the Piedmont Virginian magazine.
The Rappahannock News was purchased in 1977 by Arthur “Nick” Arundel; its early roots date back to 1877. Arundel sold the Rappahannock News to Walter Nicklin in 2010. In 2012, it was acquired by Brack; Nicklin remains a minority owner.
Terms of Rappahannock Media’s July 9 acquisition from Virginia News Group, based in Leesburg, were not disclosed.
Anita L. Sherman, the Culpeper Times editor, will remain in her current position. An employee with the Virginia News Group for nearly 15 years, Sherman started as an education writer for the Fauquier Times [Democrat] and then served as editor of the Rappahannock News from 2005-2008 when it was still owned by the Virginia News Group (formerly Times Community Media).
She has served as the managing editor of the Culpeper Times since November 2008.
“We are excited to have Anita Sherman and her talented group of writers join the Rappahannock Media team. The Culpeper Times is a fine community newspaper, and we’re eager to expand its content and reach,” said Rappahannock Media president Brack, adding that other changes are envisioned to enhance the newspaper’s already strong presence in the community.
In 2003, Lou Emerson, the current owner of Fauquier Now, an online news site in Fauquier County, started the Culpeper Citizen, a sister paper to the Fauquier Citizen. In 2006, the Virginia News Group purchased both papers. The name of the Culpeper Citizen was changed to the Culpeper Times.
A member of the Virginia Press Association, the Culpeper Times is an award-winning paper with a current circulation of more than 10,000.
“The decision to sell the Culpeper Times came with mixed feelings,” said Arundel, who owns papers in Fauquier, Loudoun and Prince William counties.
“We will miss the paper and the community a great deal. Mostly, we will miss working with Anita Sherman, the editor. She’s been such an asset for our company for nearly 15 years. But that all said, the paper is in better hands with Dennis. He’ll give it the attention it needs to be an even stronger community paper.”
“While the news came as a surprise,” said Sherman, “it’s a happy one. For nearly six years, I’ve been at the helm of this paper and I’ve gotten to know many in the community. What I’ve marveled at for some time now is the synergy between the town, county and local businesses in their vision for Culpeper’s future.
“Having worked in Fauquier, Rappahannock and Culpeper as a journalist, this area is ripe with the stuff of stories. I believe that one of the missions of a local paper is to partner with the community and to be a voice for its energy. I’m very excited and optimistic for the future of the Culpeper Times under this new leadership.”
“This is a great thing for this community,” said John J. “Butch” Davies III, chairman-elect of the Culpeper County Chamber of Commerce. “This is a good thing.”
Brack said plans are underway to open an office in Culpeper.