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Our Mission and Vision

Fredericksburg Free Press is a Virginia nonstock (not-for-profit), 501(c)(3) corporation established for the purpose of educating and informing the citizens of the Fredericksburg Region through an independent, nonpartisan, digital news service.

Fredericksburg Free Press was founded on the principle that local, independent journalism builds social cohesion, encourages community participation in the political process, improves the efficiency and decision-making of local government, and promotes economic development, the arts, and social welfare in the community it serves.

Fredericksburg Free Press publishes the stories of our community objectively and with integrity, without any obligation to our sources of funding or any other special interests. We commit to earning the time and trust of the Community by providing useful and informative news, insights, and perspectives you won’t find anywhere else, always aiming to spur interest and action in the Fredericksburg Region.

3 Big Goals

  • Local News Done Well. Never behind a paywall, Fredericksburg Free Press publishes daily local news through its website, electronic newsletters, regular focused newsletters, podcasts, video stories, and a strong social media presence in order to inform, connect, engage, and educate the community while upholding journalistic integrity. Provided with reliable information, citizens are empowered to make intelligent decisions, and hold institutions, government, and leaders accountable.
  • News That Enhances our Community’s Sense of Place. We understand that local news is not just about staying informed; it’s about forging connections, promoting civic engagement, and celebrating the unique qualities of our area. Local news serves as a vital connector for people within a community. The Region boasts a rich tapestry of political, social, historical, and cultural identities. Fredericksburg Free Press is dedicated to delivering up-to-date local news that truly reflects the diverse perspectives and experiences of our residents. By presenting the stories of our citizens and shedding light on our region’s history, we aim to create a platform that fosters connection and understanding among community members. In addition, Fredericksburg Free Press is committed to showcasing the vibrant arts scene, promoting local charitable organizations, facilitating discussions around humanities, and celebrating our sports achievements. By doing so, we aim to provide a comprehensive and well-rounded view of our community’s interests and activities.
  • A Sustainable Organization That Adapts to Meet the Needs of the Community. Fredericksburg Free Press is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing our community with a high-quality news product that is free from influence from revenue, politics, or any other external interests. Our Board of Directors is made up of dedicated professionals and community leaders who volunteer their time to ensure that our news content is unbiased, factual, and relevant to our community. To ensure its sustainability and ability to adapt to the community’s needs, Fredericksburg Free Press aims to be technologically efficient and fully sustainable.

Our Newsroom, Staff and Editorial Teams

In the beginning, we didn’t think we’d be able to have a brick and mortar newsroom for several years, at least. Thanks to the Janney family, however, our team of reporters have a beautiful 1,550 sq. ft. newsroom in the historic Janney-Marshall building in downtown Fredericksburg in which to collaborate, research, and work. Through the generosity of our supporters throughout the community, we have also been able to, at a fraction of the retail cost, fully furnish, equip, and future-proof our newsroom with the technological framework reporters need to create a collaborative work environment. Here, our team of dedicated reporters can work together to produce the types of impactful stories that inform and create community cohesion. Equipped with state-of-the-art technology, the office will serve as a hub for our journalists to investigate, analyze, and report on a wide range of topics.

Our newsroom address is 401 Princess Anne Street, Fredericksburg, VA 22401. News isn’t made in a newsroom, though, so our reporters are often out where the news is happening. Please contact one of our reporters, or email [email protected] if you would like to visit.

Meet The Bylines

Joey LoMonaco

Senior Reporter/Editor

Joey is a longform-minded journalist who spent the first decade of his career covering high school sports, Big 12 college football and everything in between. Joey joins the Free Press’s inaugural staff following seven years at The Free Lance-Star, where he won multiple awards from the Associated Press Sports Editors and was named the Virginia Press Association’s Young Journalist of the year in 2019. Joey has also earned multiple national Top Ten Awards for Features, Game Story, and Projects, Associated Press Sports Editors Contest (2017-2019) and a First Place Award, Sports Writing Portfolio, Virginia Press Association (2016-2018). Joey lives in downtown Fredericksburg with his wife Katie and their daughter Effie.

Contact Joey:
[email protected]
540-684-3100

Taft Coghill, Jr.

Reporter/Editor

Taft is a Caroline County native and resident, and a graduate of Virginia State University. He is well-known to our community as a great journalist, having covered the Fredericksburg area for more than 20 years. Taft earned six national top 10 Associated Press awards, including four individually and two collaboratively.

Contact Taft:
[email protected]
540-684-3104

Kathy Knotts

Reporter/Editor

Now living in Spotsylvania County, Kathy comes to the Free Press from the Chesapeake Bay Area in Maryland and will provide fresh eyes to our Region. She has spent the last 20+ years covering communities across the Southeast for publications of all sizes, as a Digital Content Editor, Senior Staff Writer, and Managing Editor. She loves good books, strong coffee, amazing food, and a great story.

Contact Kathy:
[email protected]
540-684-3105

Meet The Triumvirate

Our newsroom receives guidance and editorial oversight from a skilled editorial team composed of two former managing editors and an executive producer, all of whom have earned awards for their exceptional contributions in the industry. With decades of experience in producing, editing, and managing newsrooms, they bring a valuable depth of knowledge to our organization. Each member of our editorial team is deeply dedicated to delivering a high-quality product and informing the community about the subjects that impact it.

Beth Black

Beth Black has an extensive background in mass communication and while working at WAGA-TV in Atlanta, as an Executive Producer, earned two local Emmy Awards and the prestigious Edward R. Murrow Award.

Phil Jenkins

Phil Jenkins is the former editor of The Free Lance-Star. A graduate of the University of Alabama-Birmingham, he began his career in the Birmingham bureau of United Press International and also worked as a reporter, metro editor and managing editor at the Anniston Star in Alabama before joining the Free Lance-Star in 1998. After serving as metro editor and  managing editor in Fredericksburg, he was promoted to executive editor in 2013, where he served until 2022.     

Rich Martin

Rich Martin was a newspaper journalist for 32 years, including 29 years at The Roanoke Times in Virginia. The newspaper was a three-time Pulitzer finalist for projects he edited. He retired as managing editor in 2004.  He is an associate professor emeritus in the Department of Journalism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he taught for 12 years and served as Director of Journalism Graduate Studies and Journalism Department Head. He is the author of Living Journalism: Principles and Practices for an Essential Profession (Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 1st edition 2011, 2nd edition 2020.) 

Meet the Journalism Advisory Council

Jeanette Cadwallender
Meghann Cotter
Phil Jenkins
Deneal Kennedy
Rich Martin
Sushma Subramanian

Our Board Advisory Council

Bruce Davis
Eric Fletcher
Vernon Green
Phil Jenkins

Our Funding

We rely on your support to continue providing our services. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on various sources of funding, including grants, sponsorships, individual donations, and voluntary subscription fees. While access to our content will always be free, we encourage readers to consider making a monthly or annual donation to support our mission. Rest assured that we maintain a strict separation between our donors and our newsroom, and we are committed to full transparency regarding our funding sources (more on that here). You can make tax-exempt donations via our website or by sending a check to Fredericksburg Free Press, 401 Princess Anne Street, Suite 100, Fredericksburg, VA 22401. You can also make stock donations – contact [email protected] and we will help you with that.

Our organization’s EIN is 92-2461450. For more information about our tax-exempt status, you can review our IRS Tax Exempt Status Determination letter.

Journalistic Independence is a Fundamental Principle

What does Journalistic Independence really mean?

Journalistic independence is a fundamental element of a free and democratic society. Journalists and media outlets must be free from undue influence and interference in producing and reporting news. This affords journalists the freedom to follow their investigations and report on stories without being coerced or manipulated by external forces, such as political pressure, donors, sponsors, and other funders, Board members, government officials, or corporate entities. This independence is crucial to allow journalists to act as watchdogs, hold power to account, and provide the public with unbiased and objective information.

The Free Press maintains complete editorial independence and does not allow donors or Board members to influence or edit our content. We make editorial decisions based on journalistic integrity and the best interests of our readers, rather than on donor support. Accepting donations to support our coverage does not imply endorsement of the donors or their products, services, or opinions. We retain full authority over editorial content to protect the journalistic and business interests of our organization.

Further, have taken concrete measures to ensure that journalists have the freedom to exercise their professional judgment and adhere to ethical standards without undue influence, including:

  • Our commitment to independence is explicitly stated in our Bylaws.
  • Corporate donors are required to sign an agreement indicating their understanding and acceptance of our commitment to independence.
  • Our Board members are strictly prohibited from involvement in newsroom decisions or content creation. Each Board member must sign a Non-Interference Policy Statement affirming their dedication to upholding this stringent level of independence. 
  • As a member of the Institute for Non-Profit News (INN), we follow INN’s Membership Standards.
  • We adhere to the guidance of the American Press Institute and the Trust Project
  • Board members are required to sign their understanding and agreement to adhere to our Conflict of Interest Policy.
  • Our Staff is committed to the SPJ Code of Ethics.

We are Nonpartisan

(but not afraid of controversy)

What does that mean?

Nonpartisanship plays a crucial role in providing the public with balanced and reliable reporting. It helps ensure that journalists fulfill their role as watchdogs, holding those in power accountable, and providing citizens with the information they need to make informed decisions.

In order to uphold our commitment to nonpartisanship, our reporting is based on verified facts and multiple sources, accurately representing different sides of a story, and avoiding the promotion or endorsement of any particular political ideology or agenda. Our editorial team and our Journalism Advisory Council are there to ensure that our reporting is exactly what we promise – nonpartisanship and independence.

Being nonpartisan does not mean, however, that our reporters shy away from covering controversial topics. Rather, when reporting on those issues, they adhere to ethical guidelines and standards, such as those listed in the Journalistic Independence section above. In short, they do not play favorites.

Nonpartisanship is important for newsrooms because it helps maintain the credibility and trustworthiness of the journalism profession. When news outlets are seen as nonpartisan, they are more likely to be seen as reliable sources of information by the public. That is the Number One Goal of Fredericksburg Free Press.

Transparency – the Key to Trust

Fredericksburg Free Press is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Our funding is sourced exclusively from donations, sponsorships, and grants received from individuals, corporations, and foundations.

As an independent news organization, we strive to maintain a clear separation between our donors and our newsroom to uphold journalistic integrity. We have implemented strict policies to ensure transparency and impartiality in our reporting.

For example, we do not accept anonymous donations or any contributions that could potentially influence our content. Anonymous donations cannot be tied to specific areas or types of coverage. We also have a limit of $5,000 for anonymous donations as an additional safeguard.

Moreover, we are dedicated to being transparent about our financial support. Whenever we cover stories involving donors who have contributed $5,000 or more, we disclose this information in the corresponding article to ensure full accountability.

We sincerely appreciate the support of all our donors, and we strive to maintain transparency by publishing the names of donors who contribute more than $100 here. This helps us acknowledge and recognize their commitment to quality journalism, as well as provide transparency to our supporters. We update this list to ensure it remains accurate and up to date. Our IRS 990 filings will be published on our site once they are filed.

Furthermore, any potential conflicts of interest involving a subject’s relationship with our Board of Directors or Staff will be disclosed at the bottom of the story. Disclaimers will also be provided regarding any company, organization, or public issue where a Board member or staffer may have a potential conflict of interest due to personal or business interests.

Our Commitment to Diversity

Commitment to diversity requires consistent and ongoing dedication. Our Bylaws establish our nondiscrimination policy, but our commitment to diverse perspectives goes beyond that, starting with our Board members themselves, and reflected at all levels of our organization. We believe that different backgrounds help journalists see issues from multiple angles and provide a more accurate portrayal of events. It also ensures that we provide a fair and balanced representation of news stories, have access to a broader range of sources, and avoid stereotypes and biases. In short, it just results in better news reporting. Overall, our diverse organization will lead to more inclusive, well-rounded, and accurate news coverage that actually reflects our community, benefiting both our news organization and our audience. Fredericksburg Free Press is dedicated to these ideals.

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