Jason and I were both accustomed to suburban life, but we’ve never lived in a community as new as Kingsbrooke. We moved to northern Virginia in 2005 for the career opportunities, the chance to own a house and to be part of an up-and-coming neighborhood.
We bought a home in Bristow in 2007 just as the market began its decline; but noticed the area was still growing in leaps and bounds. It seemed as if a new house was constructed every other day.
Bristow Beat Executive Editor Stacy Shaw and Publisher Jason Shaw hope the online publication will help foster the idea of community throughout Bristow.
Meanwhile we were both teaching high school English and involved in writing and the arts at local high schools in the county. We both found we were very interested in publications and activities that extended beyond the classroom.
Finally in 2010 I left teaching to pursue other ventures. Having learned of an exciting local news event, on a whim I decided to contact a brand new news organization. It turns out they were building their staff, and the editor asked me if I would like to join. As an aspiring writer I considered this an amazing opportunity, and have not looked back since. Journalism has allowed me the opportunity to celebrate the unsung heroes who make our town a community.
While I became more involved with local journalism, Jason, who is the most ambitious man I have ever met, caught the entrepreneurial bug. But rather than returning to the advertising industry, which he left to pursue teaching, he wanted to build something for the greater good, while applying his knowledge of publication, technology and marketing, and talent for design and ingenuity.
One day he said to me, “Why couldn’t we start a local news site?”
Sure I had my doubts. We were just two curious locals; however, wouldn’t residents appreciate a news source that was controlled by the people and not the media machine?
But there were still unanswered questions: such as how could we afford a staff on a shoestring budget? Then we realized we knew many talented local individuals who were looking to break out of their 9-5 boxes and have their voices heard, while developing their talents.
So we began to take the idea seriously.
The more I investigated the news in Bristow, the more I realized how it has the potential to be more than a bedroom community. For every resident, there is a story.
Of course Bristow is small enough to be practically annexed to other local markets; however, many local businesses and schools decry this reality. Residents want to be recognized as a viable market, and residents want to build the community into one they can live, play, wine, dine, hear some great music and connect with others.
Could our news site make this a reality?
The way I see it, the modern interpretation of Bristow was designed by the construction companies, but now it is time for the residents and business owners to claim it as our own.
We can continue to let other people manifest our destiny and continue to be that sleepy bedroom community, or we can create our own community based on our own values and interests.
Bristow cannot live in the past. It is not the pre-Civil War Bristoe Station, nor are there a multitude of rolling farms of the 20th Century, but it need not be by default the urban sprawl of the 2000s. It can be so much more!
If you are a part of Bristow, then you get to shape it- with your stories, your ideas, your stores fronts and businesses, your academic and athletic activities, your music, art and literature and most of all your community involvement.
If you believe in Bristow and like the articles we bring to you, please support us. One simple way is to continue reading. Another is to promote us to your friends and neighbors via word of mouth or by posting one of our stories you enjoyed on Facebook or Twitter.
Moreover if you have a story idea, please send it to us. Nothing is too large or too small to be considered.
And if you think you have what it takes to be a citizen journalist or photographer, let us know. We’ll welcome you into the fold.
Finally, if you would like to advertise in Bristow Beat, realize that you are advertising to your neighbors—the people who are most likely to frequent your establishment, but more than that, you are helping to grow your community!
Even if you have no online presence, Bristow Beat can help set you up with a website and an online ad to tell your story.
We’re here to find the heartbeat of Bristow.
This is our home. This is our beat.