Coming Soon: The Harrisonburg Times

The Harrisonburg Times is a new media source for the Harrisonburg-Rockingham metropolitan area.

Context

Our local media outlets are a vital part of information exchange in the Harrisonburg-Rockingham metropolitan area.  The Daily News Record, WSVA, WHSV TV3, and others create a wealth of content on a daily basis, and thereby contribute to the public good in many ways.  These organizations also make tremendous in-kind and financial contributions to support and highlight worthy nonprofit causes related to education, arts, youth, and more.

The Problem

That said, there are current barriers to information exchange from our biggest media outlets, the Daily News-Record and WHSV TV3:

  • The Daily News-Record is now pay-only for online content.  This may not be a problem for local people with subscriptions, but it is a problem for local people who want others to know about the information printed in the newspaper – especially our local business, technology, university, sustainability and economic development communities.
  • There is a break in trust between the current newspaper of record and its market.  The editorial stance of the Daily News-Record diverges more and more from the values and opinions of the bulk of Harrisonburg-Rockingham residents.  For all the good the DNR does to inform the public on local issues, its ultraconservative stance is offending and alienating a growing population of people – some who even make it a personal policy to “Do Not Read” the DNR.
  • WHSV TV3, while having online content, is necessarily limited by their medium to have short news stories that cannot provide a depth of analysis that takes more than a few minutes to convey.  They also undertandably favor stories with a visual appeal, which leaves out many stories better written about
  • The online forums of both of the DNR and WHSV are largely unmoderated and have become havens for reactionary, unthoughtful, and ignorant commentary from a relatively few people that incites useless argument.
  • “What bleeds, leads!” is an unfortunate daily reality for the local main stream media because what bleeds sells.  The result is a constant barrage of content that is sensational and focuses more on conflict than substance.If nothing changes, nothing changes.

Solution

The Harrisonburg-Rockingham community is in need of a new and different opportunity to be informed about local issues that impact lives, families, businesses, and politics.  There is also a growing local blogosphere, anchored and made credible by Hburgnews.com.  That single blog is in many ways the only community-driven check and balance to information in the local news, and many times is the only venue for certain dialogue and stories.  The writers, especially Brent Finnegan, should be commended and urged to continue.  Brent’s most recent post indicates a new look is pending.

The Harrisonburg Times aims to become a relevant and valuable contributor of local news and information. The Times will feature political, cultural, business, and educational news, opinion, and features.

There is a growing team of writers who are commited to voluntarily contributing content in many categories.  There is a growing list of advisors who are commited to champion and strengthen this efforts.  And, soon, there will be a growing list of readers.

Coming by April 15

By April 15, 2010, the Harrisonburg Times will have new content on a regular basis.  Until then, there may be some preview stories published.

Get Involved

Writers – We are currently accepting applications!  Click here.
Advisors – To learn more about being an advisor, email editor [at] harrisonburgtimes.com
Advertisers – Your business can advertise here!  Email sales [at] harrisonburgtimes.com for information.

Contribute Financially

The Harrisonburg Times business model will depend on individuals and businesseswho understand the need to financially support an operation.  All early contributions will go towards expenses for developing and advertising Harrisonburg Times.

If you believe we need a new news source, please consider commiting $10 per month via credit card or a one-time donation. Continue reading “Coming Soon: The Harrisonburg Times” »