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 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.

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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