Our View: Exciting times at the Times

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It’s an adage in business that to stand still is really to move backward.

This is especially true of media companies in the 21st century, as multiple sources of information compete with traditional newspapers for readers and advertising dollars. While weekly newspapers like the Alexandria Times have fared better than their larger, big-city cousins, no paper is immune to this shift.

We are lucky to operate in a city with well-educated readers who are interested in their community. They know that their hometown newspaper is the best source for local news. We are also fortunate that local businesses take advantage of this marketing opportunity in our paper.

Still, we believe that constant innovation is the key to ongoing success in a media company. In that vein, we are excited to announce several changes, in personnel and operations, that we think help make us even more useful to the community.

First, this week marks the debut of Alexa Epitropoulos as managing editor at the Times. She joins us from the Jacksonville Business Journal, where she wrote about a wide range of companies and trends. Epitropoulos was also the paper’s digital editor, and helped turn the Business Journal’s web operation into a source of breaking news.

That’s a role she will also play at the Times.

Our website shift toward breaking news will be gradual, but you will begin seeing instant postings about a range of local topics on our web page, to be elaborated on in our print edition. You will also have the opportunity to sign up for e-mail or text alerts about breaking local news.

This change in no way diminishes our commitment to continuing to serve as Alexandria’s award-winning, independent hometown newspaper. Instead, we believe enhancing our web presence better positions our print product for long-term success.

In that vein, our other innovations are geared primarily toward improving our newspaper. First, you may have noticed the beautiful portraits of Alexandrians that have been gracing the Times’ pages recently – including today’s front page photo of street performer Jamey Turner playing his water organ.

Those photos are the work of James Cullum, an experienced photojournalist and writer who has previously worked in the Port City. Cullum’s reporting range has been on display in the past couple of issues. His pieces have included a feature last week commemorating the retirement of longtime city employee Suzanne Chis, while this week he probed beyond the crime statistics released by the city to take a deeper look at the story behind the numbers.

Finally, the Times welcomes two talented freelancers onto our team. Louise Krafft is well known to many as a longtime Alexandria photographer. She has the ability to take a routine event like a parade and turn it into something fresh and different. Her photos of the opening weekend for the Alexandria Little League appeared in the Times a couple of weeks ago.

We are also pleased to announce the return of Jim McElhatton as a freelancer. McElhatton is an experienced investigative reporter who will seek to illuminate some hidden facets of Alexandria. His first piece, on page one of this issue, sheds light on Alexandria’s antiquated court records system.

These are exciting times at the Times, as we seek to ramp up our web operation while simultaneously enhancing our newspaper. We hope you keep reading these pages, as well as check out our coverage on www.alextimes.com.

And, as always, we welcome your feedback.

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1 COMMENT

  1. The brilliant vision of Alexandria Times Founding Editor & Publisher John H. Arundel shines brightly. I recall when Mr. Arundel, a neighbor of mine formerly with The New York Times and Washington Post, brought the newspaper to life back in 2005, promising Alexandrians a fresh, smart alternative to The Gazette Packet. He recognized the great history of the Port City, learning that a paper of the same name existed back in 1797 and bringing back the “winged cartouche” which is still the paper’s flag. He came up with AlexTimes.com and even that fantastic, never-forget phone number, 703-739-0001. One of his early hires was James Cullum, who I am pleased to see has returned to the paper as a staff writer, He also hired Pat Booth as Office Manager after he was shopping at Pottery Barn one day and met Ms. Booth, who was soon to be laid off as the Old Town location was closing. Nice to see she is still there. Mr. Arundel poured his heart, soul and considerable talent and resources into making the paper one that would last for generations, and I tip my hat to the paper’s founder.