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Our Mission

Our mission here at Shenandoah Sunshine is to help the citizens at large understand the often confusing and serpentine world of local government. We strive to provide as much coverage as humanly possible of meetings, news and documents. In following local government over the past ten years, we’ve been disappointed in coverage by the local media. There are certain stories that go unreported and other stories that are covered in a distinctly biased way. Additionally, while the county has grown over the past decade, participation in local elections has actually decreased. Too often, while participating on political campaigns, we’ve come across people who say that they only vote in the “big one”, the presidential election. And yet it is local government that is closest to the people and provides most of the services citizens rely upon on a daily basis, such as schools, police protection, and yes, even the flushing of your toilet.

With that in mind, we believe the issue is 1) that citizens are not getting the whole picture and 2) that the conversation is not happening where they are at. With that, we’ve decided to, in our own little way, put a new spin on local government. One is by covering local government in a new way. Rather than just filing stories and snapping a few pictures, we actually record whole meetings and put them up on YouTube. We scan government documents usually only available through a thorough search of the county’s website or by going to the County Government Center. We know your time is important, but we also think that civic participation is vital. That’s why we meet you half way, by bringing documents and news to a central place for all to read. We provide live tweets for those with just a few seconds, meeting wrap-ups for those with a few minutes, and video for those who REALLY want to get involved. Again, we admit our biases, but in reporting on the issues, we try to serve up just the facts. We strive for that every day, and we expect you to hold us as accountable as we hold the Free Press.

Our second innovation is how we present this news. We work across all the major new media platforms–Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs–to bring information right into your social network. We encourage you to follow us, and this vital information will come right to your newsfeed. We don’t and will NEVER have a printed outlet for this project, and for good reason–we don’t work on the traditional media model. We want to take advantage of social media to make local government part of YOUR life. In short, we want local government and politics to be just as vital as someone’s wedding photos and to get just as many likes on facebook. Will we succeed? Who knows. But heck, we think that someone should try.

Ultimately, our goal is to make local government and politics a vibrant part of people’s lives. People deserve to know the issues at hand and just how their hard earned tax dollars are being spent. We recognize that, to start out with, this little project will probably mostly appeal to those already involved in county government and politics. But again, we’ve designed this project to allow you (and to help us) share this vital information with your larger social network.We want to build a dialogue. Eventually, we hope to host opinion from others about the state of local politics. In our news coverage, again, we’ll always strive to report just the facts. Hold us to that, but again, we’ve purposely designed this project to bring the facts first and foremost. But if you want to share an opinion, by all means–join in.

One last note on our reporting. We strive to bring just the facts. You’ll see that throughout our reports here on the site. Our focus first and foremost is on shining light on public policy in Shenandoah County and helping people better understand just what’s going on. In a sense, we want to be the C-SPAN for Shenandoah County. We want to bring you ALL of what’s going on–not just meetings where its nearly impossible to find a seat. In our coverage, we’re about getting the full picture to the citizens. That’s why you’ll find unedited footage of Board meetings here. We want to hear your feedback in the comments section and in our polls, but when it comes to us, you’ll get just the facts of what happened. One thing we’re NOT interested in: We’re not a traditional media outlet in the sense that we’re not interested in the personalities of politics. Got information on who’s zooming who or who has thousands of dollars in unpaid speeding tickets? Fax it to the Daily. We are interested first and foremost on the policy side of politics. Yes, we’ll report on the background of candidates when they announce, but other than that, we want to hear about the issues. If it involves an abuse of power or the use of taxpayer dollars, sure, we’ll take a look. But again, first and foremost, we want to talk the issues–because we think you deserve it, to be treated like an adult and to engage in a meaningful dialogue about what should happens with our tax dollars.

So sit back, read, and get informed. Together, we can build a better dialogue for this beautiful and historic home we call Shenandoah County.

Craig Leroy Orndorff, Editor
Shenandoah Sunshine Project

Our Motto: Veritas Vos Liberarbit–The Truth Will Set You Free

Alternate Mottos:
Shenandoah County Politics for the Insane Person
Shenandoah Sunshine–We want to do for politics what Facebook does for baby photos
Shenandoah Sunshine: All the News that’s Fit to Type, and some stuff you’d be crazy to read in its entirety

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