Local Commentary

Editorial: The Role of Your Newspaper

Everybody involved with the City of Falls Church has a lot to be proud of. Whether as a resident, a new one or here more than 50 years, a City or school employee, or a regular patron of a City business or service, we all share in the merits of being engaged with “The Little City.” Despite its small size, only 2.2 square miles and 15,000 residents so far, it routinely “hits above its weight class” in terms of involvement in the wider region and glowing reputation on a whole basket full of matters. First and foremost, of course, is the quality of its public education system whose new crown will soon become the shiny completed new high school at its west end and the really smart and well-prepared students that pour through the system into the big wide world every year.

Economic development has been a key to the City’s ongoing ability to fund its public school system to the levels that it has, and it has been a major credit to the community’s leaders, engaged citizens and City Hall staff that this fact has gained currency to become a pervasive, affirmed facet of our efforts in the last 30 years. It wasn’t always true, and it still isn’t so in communities around the region, much less the country as a whole, where development and community services are often seen in conflict, competing for attention and resources.

Now that the City of Falls Church has become the envy of many surrounding jurisdictions for its robust economic growth and good schools, both, it is not the role of the City to gloat, but to take a hard look at how we got here.

We believe that over the course of almost 30 years now that this newspaper has been an integral part of this community, it has been well-intentioned and constructive communication that has been a forceful aspect. To be plain, when every single week a mode of communication, opinion and news has been planted on the doorstep of every household in the City, it is the community as a whole that is the significant beneficiary. It is not the editorial posture of the newspaper, as such, but its over role as a mode of engagement for the entire community that makes it so valuable to everyone, to everyone who’s lived here, to every student who’s come through the school system here, to every business that has functioned here.

It remains perplexing to us how when boards and commissions meet at City Hall to talk about how to notify the public of proposed new initiatives how seldom the role of the City’s local paper is invoked. When a new video promoting business for the City is developed and includes no reference to the local paper that has so consistently over 30 years has provided a targeted and affordable resource for advertising, it is also perplexing to us.