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- September 5, 2023

The Fredericksburg Advance exists to provide quality local and state journalism to the Fredericksburg region. Whether it is local news, commentary, analysis, or covering upcoming business starts, events, or local sports — we’ve got you covered.

Our area is an extraordinary place. We are diverse in our geography, history, and demographics, but united by a loved for this community we call home. The Fredericksburg Advance exists to give voice to all who live here, and to deliver the news each of us needs to make good decisions about the future we are building together.

Our Leadership Team

The Fredericksburg Advance started as an experiment in community news and analysis in February 2023. By May, three thought leaders — Martin Davis, Leigh Anne Van Doren, and Shaun Kenney — had come together around a shared belief in delivering multipartisan news.

By combining traditional hard-news journalism with smart analysis and open debate from across our political, economic, and social spectra, we aim to reinvigorate the public square and create a venue where government is held accountable and the issues affecting our community can be debated.

Martin Davis brings 25 years of hard news experience as a journalist writing nationally for National Journal and U.S. News & World Report. His byline has appeared in a wide range of publications, including Christian Science Monitor, PGA Tour Magazine, New York Daily News, Read the Spirit, National Review, and Philanthropy. In addition to covering local government and writing analysis, Martin cohosts the New Dominion Podcast.

Leigh Anne Van Doren is the founder and publisher of Fredericksburg Parent & Family magazine. Now in its third decade, this magazine is the go-to source for parents who are long-time residents, or those just moving in to our area. Leigh Anne had a vision for nonprofit news several years back. Her foresight is what has allowed the Advance to grow this year. She’s also our business leader and chief promoter.

Shaun Kenney is a Fredericksburg native and an accomplished writer, thought leader, and political figure. He runs The Republican Standard, which carries a state-level audience, and previously served as executive director of the Republican Party of Virginia. A columnist as well as creator and cohost of the New Dominion Podcast, Shaun is a key player in shaping the Fredericksburg Advance.

Our Editorial Team

Readers of the Free Lance-Star know Adele Uphaus as the longtime education writer and general assignment reporter. Adele has won numerous Virginia Press Association awards throughout her illustrious career and is now leading our news division. In addition to reporting, she is managing our interns and developing our free-lance writers.

Vanessa Sekinger is our Books & Culture editor. Over the past two decades she’s worked as a teacher and reading specialist, so it comes as no surprise that literacy and literature are important to her. Mostly, however, Vanessa loves a good story. In the coming months, she has big plans for this section. So be sure to watch this page each Sunday as it continues to grow.

The New Dominion Podcast

Martin and Shaun may have started the New Dominion Podcast, but Megan Samples and Cori Blanch — owners of Curitiba and the show’s producers — quickly became stars. Cori, a talented musician who handles the technical side of the podcast, and Megan have found their voice, as we like to say, and have become an integral part of the interview team. Our four-member interview set up is unusual for a podcast, but it works, judging by the rapid growth in listenership.

Our Reviewers

The Advance has a healthy list of reviewers — some are not camera-shy, but a few are. That’s all to the good, because like the materials they write about, writers and reviewers are different — and we respect that.

Among the photos we have are those for longtime book reviewers Drew GallagherPenny A Parrish, and Ashley Riggleson. All three previously wrote for the Free Lance-Star, and are now bringing their talents to the Fredericksburg Advance. From the newest in the world of fiction, to classic books and even self-published talent from our area, these folks are sure to guide you to great reads.

Dennis Wemm is a newcomer, and is covering theater for the Advance. Looking for a great live show in this area? Dennis will point you in the right direction.

New reviewers are coming on-board, as are new types of books (HINT: children’s books). Stay tuned!

Our Cartoonist

Is there any prize that Clay Jones hasn’t won? One we know of – a Pulitzer – and we suspect at some point that committee will wise up and name him a recipient. And yes, we believe he is that good. When the Advance began to come off the ground, restoring a place for editorial cartooning was a must. And Jones was the clear choice. Fortunately for us, and for our readers, he said yes. What a prize.

Local Minds: The Fredericksburg Advance Board

Behind everything that we do is our Board. Cory MacLauchlin of Germanna Community College, Leigh Anne Van Doren, Shaun Kenney, Craig Vasey, a retired professor of philosophy at the University of Mary Washington. Here’s looking to a better and brighter 2024!

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