For all of us who love Loudoun, for all who love local news and the all-too-often underpaid and overworked journalists who report, write, edit and publish it, and especially for all of us who still love good old-fashioned paper-and-ink newspapers, the eight days between Tuesday, November 3 and Wednesday, November 11, may well be remembered as some of the county’s darkest . . . and finest.
On that dark Tuesday the employees of Leesburg Today and Ashburn Today were told, by all accounts without warning, that the next edition of their papers would be the last; that, with few exceptions (press accounts put the number at five) few of them could expect to be hired by the organization that had bought them out and closed them down; and that unless alternative employment was found, their next paychecks, for most if not all of them, would be their last..
The next day’s paper was, of course, one of the most important in the Loudoun County calendar: the election results issue.
The staffs of both Leesburg and Ashburn Today, despite the bad news, went to work to put out their papers. That’s the kind of people they were and are.
By late Wednesday the community had begun to react in earnest.
By Friday a group of concerned citizens convened to ask Norman Styer and his team if they thought they would be willing and able to start a new paper. They said they thought they could.
By Sunday a group of dedicated staffers, supported by a truly diverse cross section of the community and a core of loyal advertisers made Friday’s belief a formal commitment.
By Wednesday night a new paper, Loudoun Now and a new website, LoudounNow.com were ready.
They are now a welcome reality.
That’s good news, good news indeed, for all of us in the county.
Good news for the First Amendment.
Not to mention good news for people who had dedicated, in some cases, nearly thirty years to reporting and publishing the local news and serving the community in many, many other ways.
When the offices of the Middleburg Eccentric burned to the ground, destroying everything we needed to produce our paper except our most vital resource, our people, Leesburg Today’s editor, Norman Styer, now the Editor in Chief of Loudoun Now, was the first to call, offering office space, computers, and any other help he could provide to preserve and protect a paper that many would have seen as a competitor.
That’s the kind of man he is . . . the kind of team he attracts . . . and the kind of people who rose up to encourage and support Loudoun Now.
In the weeks and months ahead we will do all we can to return the favor . . . to both the Loudoun Now team and all those who stood with them.
We hope you will too.