Published By: Bacon’s Rebellion,
As old-school newspapers fade away, there’s a new star in Virginia’s media constellation — the Virginia Star. The John Fredericks Radio Network has launched a daily news and digital newspaper for Virginia as an affiliate of Star News Digital Media.
“The Virginia Star will be fiercely local in its core news reporting content, augmented with a national flavor and robust commentary section,” said Frederick, a flamboyant radio personality who bills himself the “Godzilla of truth,” in announcing the venture. The enterprise has hired three local full-time reporters and has contracted with several more on a part-time basis.
“We will be covering the real stories in Virginia that the fake news chooses to ignore, which prompted the vision for the publication,” said Fredericks. “We believe TheVirginiaStar.com will soon grow to be one of Virginia’s key resources for the truth. Our mission is to bring our readers real news without the leftist bias in reporting that unfortunately drives most newsrooms today.”
Known for his conservative, pro-Trump commentary, Fredericks also said in his announcement:
Our primary RVA competitors are furloughing staff members, making buyouts, shrinking coverage while becoming beholden to the far left fringe agenda. Another news competitor in the Virginia digital space is fully funded by a Democratic play to pay activist who’s spent millions on electing Democrats in Virginia. Honest reporting is sacrificed as a result. We intend to resolve that. We are growing and will continue to bring Virginians real news and information.
The Virginia Star is owned by Fredericks and is “operated by” Star News Digital Media, which also has properties in Tennessee, Ohio, Minnesota, and Michigan. Last year senior Star News management founded a nonprofit foundation dedicating to reforming K-12 education. A key element is the introduction of a classical curriculum, “which instructs students based on the values and ideas of Western Civilization.”
The inaugural issue of the Virginia Star is content-rich with a mix of local news, national news, and commentary. The lead article profiles Rich Anderson, the new chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia. Other local stories cover the Virginia Citizens Defense League, a surge in interest in home school, private school alternatives to public schools’ online-only education, Virginia’s unemployment fund, mobile sports betting, and Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney’s support for legalizing marijuana. Today’s edition also features commentary from state Sen. Joe Morrissey, D-Richmond.
Fredericks is a successful radio entrepreneur. His talk show plays in Richmond, Newport News/Williamsburg, Charlottesville, Petersburg, Lynchburg, and Danville radio markets. In all likelihood, he will use the radio show to drive traffic to the website, and vice versa.
The business model for the Virginia Star is unclear. The home page contains a column for several banner ads, including adds for Liberty University and the Henrico-based Thales Academy. However, other than a brief note buried in a welcome letter from Fredericks himself, there is no information on the website regarding whom to contact to purchase an ad. Also, while the Star invites readers to sign up for a digital newsletter, there is no indication that, at this point, the publication is looking to build paid subscriptions.
Bacon’s bottom line: I share Fredericks’ concern about the state of Virginia media today and the desperate need for a wider range of voices. There is significant unmet demand in Virginia’s population for a source of credibly reported state and local news that incorporates conservative perspectives. I have no doubt that the Virginia Star will have the “conservative” part nailed down. Only time will tell if the news reporting is credible or if it’s just a conservative mirror-image of biased liberal news.