It’s an adage of the media business that sensational — and usually negative — reporting is what sells. At the Times we strive for balanced reporting on all aspects of life in our city, but shootings and contentious issues do rise to the forefront even on our pages.
Thanksgiving affords us the opportunity to pause and reflect on all we are thankful for — and put the spotlight on someone like Mike Davis, as Susan Hale Thomas does in this issue.
We are thankful for Alexandria’s strong local economy. Like the rest of the country, we feel the effects of slow growth, the sequester, the government shutdown and disruptions caused by the Obamacare rollout. But the city’s unemployment rate is only 4.7 percent, compared to the national average of 7.3 percent. Our struggles have been relatively minor.
Alexandria benefits from strong economic leadership from Bill Reagan at the Alexandria Small Business Development Center, John Long at the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce, Patricia Washington at the Alexandria Convention and Visitors Association, and Val Hawkins at the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership.
These four individuals, and their organizations, work hard at bringing new businesses to our area, helping existing establishments prosper and marketing the Port City to tourists. Earlier this year, the visitors association launched an impressive new marketing campaign for the city, called Extraordinary Alexandria. Be sure to shop local this week!
We also give thanks for the amazing generosity of our community. This giving spirit is most evident in times of tragedy, such as the horrific shooting of Alexandria police officer Peter Laboy in February. His survival was one of this year’s miracles. And the outpouring of support for his family affirmed that this city cares deeply.
We give thanks for the success of our local sports teams and individual participants. The Alexandria Aces, our local Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League affiliate, attained its first-ever winning record, posting a 27-17 regular-season mark. The T.C. Williams high school football team made the playoffs following a 7-3 regular season campaign. And pitcher Alexis Sargent of St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes wrapped up her high school career by becoming the first softball pitcher in school history to record 1,000 strikeouts.
We give thanks for the lives of Alexandria leaders who passed away this year and for all they did for our city, especially remembering T.J. Fannon, Lois Walker, Carol Cleary, John Braswell and Mel Bergheim.
We are thankful for the passion that those involved in civic issues — even controversial ones — bring to the debate. Residents engaged in the planning for the waterfront and Beauregard redevelopments, among other issues, want what’s best for our city, even if they often have divergent ideas on how to get there.
We are thankful that, despite rhetoric and threats, the city did not seize the Old Dominion Boat Club parking lot by eminent domain this year.
We are thankful to be one in a diverse array of local media outlets in Alexandria.
Finally, we give thanks to two very special groups: You, our readers, who are our reason for existing, and our loyal advertisers, without whom the Times would not exist.