Here is a shout-out to three small publications that are covering important Virginia news stories while the commercial media continues to shrink into impotence, irrelevance, or in the case of the Washington Post, malevolence. — JAB
Give credit where credit is due. The Virginia Mercury is a left-of-center publication, but it is hammering the Northam administration for a lack of transparency regarding alleged Virginia Parole Board misconduct. An Office of the Inspector General (OSIG) report concluded this summer that the parole board had violated its victim-notification procedures when granting parole to a convicted killer. The Northam administration got wind of the findings, and when report was issued it was so heavily redacted that it was almost unreadable. Republicans have been raising hell about the lack of transparency… and the Mercury has been remarkably sympathetic. Read the Mercury’s latest update here.
Speaking of independent media outlets…. The newly created Virginia Star is establishing itself as a worthwhile news source. Today the publication featured an interview of Angela Greene, the female African-American police chief who was placed on administrative leave after her department announced felony charges against Sen. Louise Lucas, D-Portsmouth. Lucas had helped organize a rally this summer in which protesters spray painted the a Confederate statue. Later that night, protesters beheaded four statues of soldiers attached to the monument, and the monument fell upon a man and killed him. The charges resulted in an uproar as Democrats rallied to the defense of Lucas, one of Virginia’s longest-serving African-American legislators. In the resulting fallout Greene, who herself had replaced a previous female African-American police chief, was canned. She gave her first public interview to the Star. Said she: “I was retaliated against because I refused to treat criminal behavior differently because of the alleged offenders race, creed, gender, or political affiliation.”
More COVID fallout. James Madison University recorded 783 students who accepted then withdrew or deferred their enrollment at JMU this fall. The unexpected loss of those students blew a $12.6 million hole in the university’s budget, reports the student newspaper The Breeze. The no-shows cited the coronavirus as the main cause for their decision. Some who unenrolled cited their fear that online classes would limit opportunities to connect with faculty. Others cited fears that they might expose vulnerable family members to the virus. Every university has been struggling with how to manage the virus, but JMU more than most. The student newspaper has been on top of the story from the beginning.