Editorial: More depth + more reporting = better solutions

By Howard Lake via Flickr
Howard Lake via Flickr

The old saying goes that bad news sells newspapers. The nastier the happenings, the better for us, right? Wrong. The health of our community newspaper goes hand-in-hand with the vitality of our community.

“Empty streets are bad for editors, despite the wealth of crime news they may generate,” media scholar Jay Rosen once told a gathering of newspaper editors. “The emptier the streets, the emptier the newspaper will seem to readers barricaded in their private homes.”

Thus, identifying and illuminating key issues confronting Rappahannock County is at the heart of the kind of journalism we try to produce. But as the media business landscape has changed, it has become difficult to financially support as much in-depth reporting as we wish to deliver.

So, we are excited by the advent of Foothills Forum (see today’s news story and the column by Larry “Bud” Meyer on this page). Working in partnership with Foothills will give this paper more resources to do “deep dive” reporting on important community issues. In the interest of transparency, the agreement between the newspaper and the Foothills Forum is outlined in more detail in the front-page news story, and the agreement itself is posted on the Foothills Forum website.

Stories stemming from this partnership will not be “gotcha”-style tabloid fodder. Rather, it will be reporting that picks apart complex local issues, presenting all sides so readers can form opinions based on thorough, impartial information. That is, old-fashioned reporting.

As a community newspaper, we are not a detached outsider. We hope our journalism also will help our community craft solutions to knotty issues it faces.  And as residents, as well as journalists, we want the best for this wonderful place we call home.

— Dennis Brack, President, Rappahannock Media