Digital media outlets are few and far between in Virginia. National based outlets such as Politico, Axios, and International Journal Review all do great work competing against legacy media outlets such as the Washington Post and New York Times, but for state-level journalism there are only a handful competing in that space.
InsideNOVA was certainly one of the innovators in this field, and their sale to Rappahannock Media LLC is notable for several reasons — first and foremost among them that unlike the legacy media who finds themselves consistently laying off employees, digital media and independent journalism is thriving:
Dennis Brack, president of Washington, Virginia-based Rappahannock Media, said in a statement the arrangement “will better serve readers and advertisers.” Bruce Potter, previously chief operating officer of Northern Virginia Media Services, has joined Rappahannock as both COO and publisher of InsideNoVA, and co-managing partner, with Brack, of Rappahannock Media.
InsideNoVa.com will continue to operate out of Woodbridge.
The announcement comes during a period of turbulence in the D.C.-area local media sphere. Just before Christmas, entrepreneur Mark Ein announced he would buy the Washington City Paper, saving that publication from near certain doom, while just last week, D.C.’s Current Newspapers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
MediaShift just recently outlined the top 20 digital media innovators in America, many of whom are simply breaking out of traditional molds to forge their own brands of opinion journalism — too often fobbed off as “bloggers” by 20-somethings who chose wrong in their professions. The way that liberal opinion writers are treated as sages while conservative opinion writers are treated like Trump should tell folks all they need to know about the state of the public intellectual in today’s world…. stomped out by a mediocrity whose etymological root bears no little irony.
Entrepreneurship + engaging viewpoints + media niche. This seems to be the new model for the next 10 years, especially as the public’s comfort with smartphones and reliance digital advertising continues to climb. That even regional digital outlets are starting to be picked up by corporate investors is a good sign that the legacy media’s trade of reputation for influence is beginning to tap out as the market begins yet another Big Sort.