Is anyone there? Sometimes we wonder. Sometimes we don’t — those would be the weeks when we receive so many letters, or comments, phone calls and pageviews on the rappnews.com website that it’s difficult to keep up.
Most times we are simply happy to live and work in a place where it’s difficult, for reasons of geology, terrain, distance and attitude, to accidentally trespass or be trespassed against.
Some might say that we, being a newspaper in the 21st century, are just wistful for the days when we were the center of the universe. Now that the universe has infinitely expanded — its known galaxies ranging across the digital firmament from Facebook and Twitter to email newsletters and 1990s-style email lists that still flourish where broadband doesn’t — we’re just confused and lonely, refugees from another time and place.
However, unlike newspapers across the world, our circulation has remained steady, even rising slightly, over the past five years. Our website attracts 12,000 to 20,000-plus unique visitors a month. We have a Facebook page and a Twitter feed. We know somebody who ordered an Apple Watch.
Last week in this space, we welcomed the start of a promising collaboration between the Rappahannock News and the new community nonprofit Foothills Forum (foothills-forum.org). We firmly believe in solutions-oriented journalism — reporting and writing, in print and other media, that seeks answers, promotes discussion and leads to solutions, preferably in that order.
To help this work, we believe we can make it easier for readers and community members to keep in touch. For this reason, we are building an online forum at rappnews.com, and a separate community bulletin/notices board and online calendar to which individuals and organizations can contribute directly online. We are connecting our online presence more closely to our printed newspaper.