Small site beats local, national news orgs to Quantico shootings story

Potomac Local | Inside Nova
Potomac Local Publisher Uriah Kiser broke the story of Thursday night’s shootings at Marine Corps Base Quantico, which left three Marines dead. AP reporter Matthew Barakat — whose reporting on the shootings was cited by a Washington Post breaking news alert as well as local TV station WJLA and local radio station WTOP — credited Potomac Local’s coverage in an email to Poynter.

Kiser tells Poynter that a “message came in from a source stating something was going on at the barracks on Quantico.”

I sprang up and before I could get to my computer my phone started ringing as more sources began calling me to tell me what they were hearing.

I verified with the PIO at the base (we have a great working relationship) and I’ve been out here on scene ever since. I’m awaiting a briefing from the base commander and local police alongside other major TV networks.

I grew up in this town, and when we founded the indie PotomacLocalNews.com three years ago, we committed to building the relationships that would allow us to best bring local news to our readers. Here we are, and three months after the closure of the daily newspaper in this area, it seems to be working.

That paper was the Manassas (Va.) News & Messenger, which Warren Buffett’s World Media Enterprises closed in late 2012. The News & Messenger’s popular website Inside Nova was slated to be shuttered, too, but another local media company, Northern Virginia Media Services, bought it and its Facebook page in December. Inside Nova followed Potomac Local’s 11:50 p.m. story closely and posted its own story about the shootings at 12:25 a.m. Friday.

Northern Virginia is a sprawling area in the Washington, D.C., environs that includes large counties — including Prince William County, where Quantico is — as well as independent cities like Alexandria and the urban county of Arlington.

Kiser tells Poynter he’s the only full-time employee working for Potomac Local.

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  • http://twitter.com/KJMushung That Reporter KJ

    Hey, one of the posts (from “hung”) was copied from my post with a link added. That is NOT from me. Do NOT click on the link.

  • hung

    t’s great to be recognized. Uriah does an amazing job, and the rest of us at Potomac Local News work really hard to compete with more established media outlets. This isn’t the first time we trumped the big guns. No other news organization was at the site of a recent small plane crash except Potomac Local News. (Another newspaper briefly sent a photographer hours after the plane crashed, but not a reporter.)

    http://365truyen.com

  • Connie Moser

    Uriah Kiser is the best of small town news. He embraced the concept of online news early, and has continued to build readership by excellent reporting, interaction with the community and many hours of hard work.
    Looking forward to attending a C-100 panel discussion on Tuesday, where Uriah will be the moderator of a distinguished panel addressing Sequestration.

  • http://twitter.com/KJMushung That Reporter KJ

    It’s great to be recognized. Uriah does an amazing job, and the rest of us at Potomac Local News work really hard to compete with more established media outlets. This isn’t the first time we trumped the big guns. No other news organization was at the site of a recent small plane crash except Potomac Local News. (Another newspaper briefly sent a photographer hours after the plane crashed, but not a reporter.)

  • http://twitter.com/BroadstreetAds Broadstreet

    This is awesome — congrats to Uriah! An awful lot of national news has a local origin — and local news orgs have the best chance to jump on a story and run before anyone else does.

  • http://www.arlnow.com/ ARLnow.com

    Congrats to Uriah! This is a great example of the kind of news payoff that comes with dedication and strong local connections, which a common trait of indie sites.

    If there’s any good to come out of the shuttering of the Examiner’s local section, hopefully it’s an expansion of our small DC indie network.

  • http://howardowens.com Howard Owens

    Congrats and good job to a fellow LION Pub.