Editor: When I moved to Loudoun County in 1994, I was surprised and impressed with the quality and robustness of the several local newspapers that were thriving here, in contrast to trends toward consolidation and contraction happening elsewhere.
During two decades of tumultuous change and phenomenal growth in Loudoun, these newspapers have each played critical roles in informing citizens about the local issues that most effect their lives, providing forums for debate and fostering critical civic engagement.
As a former newspaper reporter and journalist for 30 years, I know the hard work and dedication required of reporters and editors to accurately cover local news to fulfill a vital responsibility in a free society. As a public official for nearly 20 years, I know how pivotal it is for citizens to have unbiased and accurate reporting on the issues that will directly impact their communities and their lives.
As the transformation of print media and consolidation accelerated in recent years, we have been fortunate that Loudoun’s competitive newspaper landscape, while often challenged, largely withstood the trend.
Strong competition in newsgathering and multiple news outlets is the lifeblood of democracy and a bulwark to corruption—and when done right ensures a voice for the powerless as well as the powerful. Thus, on the very day that voters in Loudoun confounded conventional wisdom and brought dramatic and historic change to local government, it was a great shock, and shame, to learn of the demise of Leesburg Today.
Fortunately, with the launch of Loudoun Now just a week later, our community has the opportunity to continue to resist the trend toward contraction, and ultimately a degradation of local news coverage. As Loudoun citizens face critical decisions that will have significant impacts far into our future, more voices—not less—are called for. The competitive array of Loudoun newspapers, which has sustained quality reporting and journalism across the board, has served us well in the past and deserves our nurturing today and into the future.
Thank you and best wishes to the dedicated journalists and supporters of Loudoun Now.
Roger L. Vance
Mayor, Town of Hillsboro
Editor in Chief, HistoryNet
Editor, American History