Daily newspaper coverage of Prince William County came to a halt on Dec. 31—or at least a good chunk of it—with the demise of the Manassas-based News & Messenger.
Times Community Media is stepping into the breach with the Jan. 9 launch of Prince William Times.
The company already covers the western part of the county with Gainesville Times.
Prince William Times will be directed by Gainesville Times Managing Editor Tara Donaldson, who will expand her responsibilities into Manassas and the central and eastern parts of the county.
Donaldson has been reporting on Prince William County for 13 years.
Gainesville Times, which currently publishes each Thursday, is an award-winning publication that features hard news plus school, business and community issues in addition to high school and youth league sports.
Prince William Times will offer a similar model, but will focus on Manassas and areas to the east.
And like Gainesville Times, Prince William Times will be a free circulation newspaper, and will be delivered to some homes by carrier and will be available at a number of retail outlets throughout the county. It is also available by mail, by paid subscription.
News & Messenger printed its final issue Dec. 31. The paper and dozens of other Media General newspapers had been purchased in 2012 by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.
“Our first thoughts are with our 33 dedicated News & Messenger employees,” Doug Hiemstra, president of Berkshire newspaper subsidiary World Media Enterprises told readers in an online posting when the closing was announced in the fall. “They worked very hard as we took several approaches to make this newspaper successful.”
Times Community Media executives believe there is a strong market for a weekly product covering central and eastern Prince William County.
“For a community as robust and historic as Prince William County to lose its local paper is a travesty,” said company President and CEO Peter Arundel. “The eastern end of the county lost its only credible watchdog on local government. As the Fourth Estate, the press is a vital piece of our democratic system. Prince William Times and PrinceWilliamTimes.com will serve the community with vigorous reporting beginning with our first issue on Jan. 9.”
The Arundel family has been in the media business since 1963, with its purchase of radio station WAVA and the conversion of that station to 24-hour news coverage.
In addition to Gainesville Times and Prince William Times, the family-owned company also owns and publishes Fauquier Times-Democrat, Loudoun Times-Mirror and Culpeper Times and their associated websites and subsidiary publications, including Piedmont Business Journal and Loudoun Business Journal.
Prince William Times will launch with an initial circulation of about 10,000.
For more information call 540- 347-4222.
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