To the Floyd County community:

Hello! I’m thrilled to join you all in Southwest Virginia and honored to take the reins of The Floyd County Press as its new managing editor.

I have roots in rural America and a passion for storytelling that I hope will help me serve this community well. And I am so grateful to Wanda Combs, along with all the writers, advertising staff and others who have acted as stewards of this newspaper for so many years, for the opportunity to continue The Floyd Press’ tradition of local reporting.

My journalism career began at the Orange County Review in Orange, Virginia — another weekly, small-town newspaper, and the best place I can imagine to learn the tricks of the local news trade. Orange, like Floyd, was a lovely place to build a life. I know from experience, having been raised in a small community and then working in Orange, that rural communities are vibrant, dynamic and interesting places where people are hospitable and community minded. In the best cases, these towns are served by newspapers that tell local stories, channel the community’s voice and inform its citizens about the issues that matter most.

The Floyd Press is an institution, and I’m humbled at the chance to be part of its long history in Floyd. Already, I’ve found Floyd residents to be helpful, generous, friendly and truly passionate about the place they call home. Every single one of you is a walking advertisement for this community—which you’ve described to me as “paradise,” “unique,” “funky,” “artsy,” “green” and “unlike anywhere else.” I can tell all these descriptors are genuine and true, and I’m excited to dive in and learn this community well.

I am here to hear from you, learn from you, and to support you in staying informed about and engaged with this community that we all love. In the paper I intend you’ll find human interest stories, the latest from the schools, local businesses and your town and county governments, and all the information you need to stay safe and healthy. I love to write and to make that writing shine—but at the end of the day, my highest obligation is not to a stylebook or to myself, but to the truth and to all of you.

Thank you for welcoming me into my new home—I’m deeply grateful to be here and to be starting this next chapter among such a wonderful group of friends and neighbors. I hope we’ll meet in person soon, and as I get oriented and learn all there is to know about Floyd County and the surrounding region, you can bet you’ll find me attending community events galore.

I passionately believe in the work community newspapers do. It’s lofty language, but the job of local papers is to protect our democratic institutions and to bolster community engagement—to supply people with the information they need to make decisions, cast votes, access necessary resources, succeed in school or work, find sports scores or just plan their upcoming weekend. I’m here to be a part of that goal, and I want you to be a part of it too. Please reach out anytime with tips, questions or submissions to our editorial or advertising pages. You can reach me at aspinks@wythenews.com, or find me in The Floyd Press office.

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