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EDITORIAL:Community news, first and always

When I was asked for biographical information for a front page story I’ll admit like a lot of people I interview, I didn’t know what to say. After 34 years in this business, I am used to having my name on the front page as a byline not as a news item.

You really don’t need to know whether I am married with kids or my sexual orientation. A reporter’s job is to share the news, not be the news. As the new managing editor for the Gainesville Times and the Prince William Times, my job is to be there when you can’t and report back.

What you need to know is that I believe in the publisher’s mission of providing a hyper-focused Prince William County newspaper for you.

Virginia News Group is the premier community news and information provider in Northern Virginia and the Virginia Piedmont. Located in the Washington, D.C., region, its newspaper titles serve more than 270,000 readers weekly with its websites visited more than 203,048 times a month.

The media firm has garnered hundreds of national and state journalism awards since it was established with the purchase of the Loudoun Times-Mirror in 1963 by its founder, Arthur (Nick) Arundel. The company is now owned by Peter Arundel who believes communities need local news.

These papers, including the Fauquier Times, are published for you.

While some people say newspapers are dying, niche publications are growing.

A 2009 article by the Pew Research Center titled “The Rise of the Niche” states that while mainstream media has shrunk dramatically, the number of journalists in the Washington area has not.

“The answer is that a new Washington media have evolved, but they are far from the more egalitarian or citizen-based media that advocates of the digital age might imagine,” the writers say.

“Instead, this new Washington media cohort is one substantially aimed at elites, often organized by industry, by corporate client, or by niche political interest.”

In the case of the Prince William Times and Gainesville Times, we are aimed at the growing, educated, citizenry of Prince William County who want to stay informed on local politics, local culture, and local issues.

I am committed to working for you.

While it may sound a little like a politician’s line, it is true.

This newspaper staff really works for you.

We work to make sure you are informed about what is happening in your community.

We want to introduce you to your neighbors by featuring interesting county residents as guest columnists.

We will keep you informed on where the sales are, what events are coming up, and when that transportation meeting starts.

To do this, I may need your help.

Email or call our office with news tips, upcoming events and story ideas. I want to work for you and with you to make sure the important news gets published.

Our contact information can be found on A2 and online on our website.

Keep up with what is happening when it happens-follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and check out our E-edition at www.northernvatimes.com.

My career started 34 years ago at the Lexington Progress, a weekly community newspaper in my hometown of Lexington, Tenn. With this issue, I start a new chapter as managing editor for my hometown weekly newspaper where I live, work and play-just like you.

--Michelle Baker
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EDITORIAL:Community news, first and always

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