Rappahannock Media LLC, which owns this newspaper along with the weekly Culpeper Times and quarterly Piedmont Virginian magazine, has taken on Bill Walton as a minority owner.
The announcement was made jointly Monday by Dennis Brack, president and managing partner of Rappahannock Media, and Walton, the former longtime head of Allied Capital who has a home in Harris Hollow (where his private-equity company Rappahannock Ventures, the feature-film production company Rush River Entertainment and a new video production startup are based).
The partnership, Brack said, is part of larger goal by Rappahannock Media, beginning with its Rappahannock newspaper, to provide “solutions-oriented journalism” — an industrywide move toward complementing news coverage with opportunities for public participation, whether through issue-oriented public forums, online discussion and interaction, or issue-driven events and workshops.
“I’ve been happy with the direction the Rappahannock News has been going,” said Walton, who added that he hoped to provide the media company with the benefit of his many years of experience “building and growing small and medium-sized companies.”
In addition to his career in finance (including more than a dozen years as chairman and CEO of Allied until 2010, when it merged with Ares Capital), Walton has abiding interests in the arts and public policy. He recently joined the board of the Northern Piedmont Community Foundation and is president of the Washington Volunteer Fire & Rescue Company.
Walton serves on the board of directors of the Media Research Center and is a member the collectors committee and trustees’ council of the National Gallery of Art. He is former president of the National Symphony Orchestra and treasurer of the Wolf Trap Center for the Arts. He and his wife, Sarah, an artist who also serves on the Castleton Festival board, live in Harris Hollow.
Walter Nicklin, who led a group of local investors in 2010 to purchase the newspaper from what is now the Virginia News Group, says Brack, remains an active partner in the company.