BY JOHN-HENRY DOUCETTE
PUNGO — The Independent News is one.
Our first edition arrived Friday, April 24, 2015. It followed months of work building the paper and a distribution network, which has since doubled.
There have been adjustments along the way, but there have been constants in this experiment to try to tell stories that aren’t told elsewhere about southern Virginia Beach — and maybe figure out how to pay for very local journalism.
One constant is our readership. I’m grateful for it. I hope you know it, and I hope you find some value in this newspaper, whatever that may be to you.
I’m also proud of the work that has appeared here and our potential. If this fails, it won’t be for lack of trying.
In the past year, we have broken news on the extent of unauthorized farming on city lands off Salem Road. A reporting intern was the first to reveal a past bankruptsy of a General Assembly candidate, and we examined when another candidate misused military images in campaign ads. Another reporting intern was the only local journalist to cover elections to a board that works with our agriculture communities.
We have led coverage of the event homes issue in Sandbridge, changes to funding for the agricultural reserve program and other issues that matter to the rural community. With the help of regular contributors, especially my friend Veni Fields, we have tried to honestly tell stories about people and organizations here. Also, one time I got to write about a drunk raccoon.
Thanks, animal control.
I’ve had help and patience from my friends at The Tidewater News, which prints the newspaper every other Friday. So I’ll let publisher Tony Clark, say:
“John’s very passionate about what he does, and I can attest to the fact that he’s completely committed to publishing a top-quality newspaper. Anyone who’s picked up a copy of The Independent News knows that, as well, and it’s one of the primary reasons why this paper has grown and thrived in its first year of publication.”
And all of you have my deepest thanks for reading our little paper.