Welcome to the Introductory Page for Fredericksburg Free Press. We thank you for your interest. Please read through to learn what we’re about and hopefully, get some of your questions answered. We will continue to update this page as we draw closer to launching Fredericksburg Free Press when this page goes LIVE with local news and stories about our community.

What is Fredericksburg Free Press?

Fredericksburg Free Press, Inc. is a Virginia nonstock (not-for-profit) corporation established for the purpose of educating and informing the citizens of the Fredericksburg region through an independent, nonpartisan, digital news service.

Our Mission

Fredericksburg Free Press was founded on the principle that local, independent journalism builds social cohesion, encourages community participation in the political process, improves the efficiency and decision-making of local government, and promotes economic development, the arts, and social welfare in the community it serves.

Our coverage will never be behind a paywall, and we will publish the stories of our Community objectively and with integrity, without any obligation to our sources of funding or any other special interests. We commit to earning the time and trust of the Community by providing useful and informative news, insights, and perspectives you won’t find anywhere else, always aiming to spur interest and action in the Fredericksburg region.

Filling a Need

The once highly regarded locally owned daily newspaper, the Free Lance-Star, was sold in bankruptcy in 2014. The subsequent series of remote corporate owners made decisions that left our community bereft of local news coverage. Now, our fast-growing region is a news desert with virtually no locally focused print or broadcast media. Fredericksburg Free Press will fill that void.

Three Big Goals

  1.   Local News Done Well…

Fredericksburg Free Press will publish daily local news through its website, electronic newsletters, and a strong social media presence in order to inform, connect, engage, and educate the community while upholding journalistic integrity.

  1. that Enhances our Community’s Sense of Place…

Local news matters because it connects our community. The maxim “democracy dies in darkness” is only part of the story. So do communities. Beyond a news outlet, Fredericksburg Free Press will be a gathering place of information that will enhance our area’s sense of place. Our area has a very diverse, yet strong identity – politically, socially, and culturally. Fredericksburg Free Press is poised to deliver not only current, relevant local news to the community, but also present the stories of its citizens, its history, and create a forum for the arts, humanities, and sports.

  1. through a Sustainable Organization that Adapts to Meet the Needs of the Community.

Fredericksburg Free Press is a nonprofit organization committed to delivering a quality news product to our community where the content is untethered to revenue and political control. It will be technologically efficient and able to keep pace with the needs of our community.

The Newsroom

Fredericksburg Free Press will publish news on our website, through emails, and on social media every morning on a variety of topics that are important to our community, such as local government and politics, business and the economy, education, health, sports, arts & culture, as well as balanced editorials on significant matters of public interest in our area. We also plan to produce podcasts and video stories on a variety of topics of interest to the community.  

We will not endorse candidates for political office or play a role in their campaigns. We do intend, however, to publish stories, editorials, letters to the editor and other content about candidates and issues that are relevant to upcoming elections.

Funding

We expect that our funding will come from a number of sources including grants, sponsorships, individual donors, and voluntary subscriptions in order to advance our core mission. While no one will be required to pay for a subscription to read our content, we will ask subscribers to donate a monthly or annual amount. As required by our Bylaws, we will maintain a firewall between donors and our Newsroom and will engage in full transparency about our funding sources.

The Technology

The Fredericksburg Free Press is committed to using reliable, up-to-date technology that is user-friendly for both our staff and readers. We are fortunate to receive an important donation in the form of a ready-to-go news website with about 5,000 subscribers that can be easily transitioned to publish our content and expanded to meet future needs. This already-functioning website will allow our news staff to more efficiently and effectively produce and publish content and reduce the potential for technical issues. We will also contract with an IT firm or expert to provide timely technical support, maintenance, and upgrades.

Events

Keep an eye here for additional events.

Frequently Asked Questions

When will Fredericksburg Free Press launch?

With your help, we hope to launch by the end of 2023.

How much does it cost to subscribe?

Nothing. We believe that unbiased, accurate information about our community should be free to everyone, ensuring that all citizens, regardless of their financial circumstances, are able to make informed decisions and fully engage with their community.

 

Are you competing with other newspapers?

We don’t believe so, since we’re not selling advertising, which is the fundamental source of newspaper revenue. Also, unlike other newspapers, our coverage is almost entirely local.  Our goal is to cover many of the stories that aren’t being covered by other news media.

Does Fredericksburg Free Press represent a particular political point of view?

No. The coverage is nonpartisan, and we strive to convey multiple perspectives on issues.

We aim to fairly and accurately report the facts. Good journalism demands impartiality and rigorous fact-finding. At a time when there is widespread distrust of media, Fredericksburg Free Press seeks to adhere to the highest code of journalistic ethics and reporting standards. Furthermore, our 501(c)(3) status (which is in process) prohibits us from engaging in biased political activity.

How do you satisfy your donors and Board of Directors?

We sincerely thank our donors for their generous support, and the work of our Board of Directors, without which we could not exist. But we also value our editorial independence – a  mark of journalistic excellence – and strive to ensure that there is no relationship or influence between the Board of Directors and donors, and with the Newsroom.

 

How do you separate the Newsroom from Funding sources and the Board of Directors?
  • The Bylaws of Fredericksburg Free Press impose impenetrable walls between our Board of Directors and the Newsroom, and our financial supporters and the Newsroom.
  • Our 501(c)(3) status prohibits us from participating or intervening in any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elected public office. It’s important to note, however, that certain voter education activities (including holding public forums and publishing voter education guides) conducted in a non-partisan manner do not constitute prohibited political campaign activity.
  • Our Journalism Advisory Council, made up of respected community members with journalism experience, none of whom are members of the Board of Directors, is tasked with maintaining the guard rails between funding, the Board of Directors, and the Newsroom. The Journalism Advisory Council’s objective is to provide guidance to the Newsroom staff on news coverage and editorial issues, from ethical issues to the direction of its reporting and editorial efforts. 
  • Our reporters and Chief Executive will be strict practitioners of journalistic standards of the Society of Professional Journalists.

 

Who are the financial supporters of Fredericksburg Free Press?

Primarily, you. Although it’s not required to read any of our content, we will ask readers to contribute to keep the Newsroom running, much like NPR. As a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit, Fredericksburg Free Press relies on donations and grants from individuals, corporations, and other nonprofit entities in order to advance its core mission. We engage in full transparency about our funding sources, and refuse anonymous gifts or any gifts that appear to have strings attached. Whenever we write about a donor who has contributed significant funding, we will disclose this in the story. Also, we will publish our tax returns on the newspaper’s website.

How can I donate to Fredericksburg Free Press?

It’s easy. Click here. And THANK YOU!

Is Fredericksburg Free Press a 501(c)(3) corporation yet?

Not yet. We have filed our application and are awaiting our determination letter. The good news is that 501(c)(3) status is retroactive; meaning, that once the tax exempt determination letter is issued, the IRS will recognize an organization’s tax exempt status back to the date of its formation.

Board of Directors

Linda Alsop
Beth Black
Cori Blanch
Mitzi Brown
Lisa Durham
Chris Muldrow 
Howard Owen
Andre Pineda 
Xavier Richardson
Irene Roberts
Megan Samples
Seth Silber
Lani Weiss

Journalism Advisory Council

Jeanette Cadwallender
Taft Coghill
Meghann Cotter
Phil Jenkins
Deneal Kennedy
Rich Martin
Sushma Subramanian

Board Advisory Council

Bruce Davis
Eric Fletcher
Vernon Green
Phil Jenkins