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Fauquier Times drops ‘Democrat’ from its name

Wednesday, Jun. 19 | By Scott Bateman
The following editorial appears in the Wednesday, June 19 edition of the Fauquier Times.

The first issue of the Fauquier Democrat was published on Dec. 16, 1905, a direct descendent of the county's first newspaper, Palladium of Liberty, which was initially published soon after the Town of Warrenton was chartered in 1810.

The Fauquier Democrat underwent a name change with the first issue of 1989, adding the word Times to the title to more closely align the paper with Times Community News -- now Times Community Media -- the family-owned company that also published a number of other publications with the identifying Times in the title.

Now, somewhat more than 24 years later, it is time for another name change. With this issue, Fauquier Times is born, a direct descendent, of course, of the Fauquier Times-Democrat – and of Palladium of Liberty.

The Fauquier Democrat and the Fauquier Times-Democrat, at least in the 39 years they operated under the aegis of the Arundel family, had nothing to do with Democratic Party politics. When last we endorsed a candidate for president, the Times-Democrat's editorial support went to Republican Sen. John McCain in 2008.

In any case, I continue to believe strongly that well-informed residents of Fauquier County welcome the opportunity to hear different views about the important issues of the day.

But in an age which is, perhaps, more shaped and informed by political identity than any other in our history, having a word in our banner that is so associated with a political party is no longer a very astute business decision. The same could be said if, for the last 24-plus years, we had been the Fauquier Times-Republican.

Our news coverage will continue as it always has: factual, straightforward, unslanted. Our editorial pages will continue as they have done: Editorials will take strong stands on many of the issues, while the rest of the pages remain open to thoughtful reasoning and persuasive argument for opinions from all across the political spectrum.

We ran the idea of amending the name past two focus groups of engaged Fauquier residents two weeks ago, about 20 of the county's leading lights whom we asked to meet with us to help with the paper's redesign, a project that encompasses both content and aesthetics.

They were of one mind – that the effect of the name change, if it has an effect at all, will be positive. And, they reckoned, there will be any number of readers who will continue to refer to "the Democrat," just as they have done in the 24 years when that name was, at least technically, incorrect.

We thank you for reading, for remaining engaged in the affairs that affect us all. We look forward to hearing from you about this change, and about the others that will follow as our redesign consultant begins to take all the information that she has gathered from focus groups, from other community engagements and from staff to make positive changes to our news coverage and our news presentation.

Meanwhile, to bring you the news in a more complete fashion, we continue to work on our website, http://www.fauquier.com, and in expanding our presence on Facebook and Twitter.

As to our website, we encourage you to visit the slide show of our recent inaugural Fauquier County Athletes of the Year breakfast at Airlie Center.

By whatever name we are known, we are trying harder than ever to be identified first and foremost as a positive contributor to Fauquier County life.
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