Our Town

Early in my career I worked for the weekly newspaper in my hometown of Luray, Va. We went to press Wednesday mornings and by afternoon, hawkers were at the town's lone traffic light, selling that week's edition.

Traffic slowed through the intersection as drivers dug for coins and rolled down windows to buy their copies.

The newspaper also was sold at stores and the other businesses that dotted the rural county, and a steady stream of customers would drop by Wednesday afternoons to get the latest issue.

But I wasn't just a reporter, I also helped deliver the papers to our vendors. One week, disaster struck ? the presses broke down. We grabbed our layouts and rushed to another press about 50 miles north, then waited our turn as other jobs were printed ahead of ours.

It was approaching 6 p.m., instead of the usual noon or thereabouts, when we made it back to town. Main Street was jammed with parked cars, their drivers waiting to buy their newspapers. The stores, too, were packed with crowds that had gathered.

At each stop, as I was dropping a bundle of papers to the ground, before I could even cut the strings off the bundle, people would reach over me to grab a copy.

Most of the people probably already knew what the top story was, but they wanted to read it to see what the different players had to say about whatever the issue of the day was. Or they wanted to know what we had written about the local schools and our take on the latest sports results.

That day nearly 20 years ago left its mark on me. It taught me that a publication is more than just the information in its pages. It's also about the people it serves and the community they live in.

Washington Technology is no different. It is very much a community magazine. But its community is drawn together not by geographic boundaries but by a market and a customer.

With this issue, we celebrate our 20th anniversary with stories, profiles and commentary that look back across two decades at the people and events that shaped today's market.

For our story on how this publication came into being, I interviewed Esther Smith and John Sanders. Smith founded Washington Technology in 1986, and Sanders joined her about a year later. They shared a vision that Washington Technology's mission was to provide a voice and forum for an industry and to do it better
than any other publication.

That is still our mission. It is our legacy, our future and our privilege.

About the Author

Nick Wakeman is the editor-in-chief of Washington Technology. Follow him on Twitter: @nick_wakeman.

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