Prince William Shifts Focus From Print to Online Communication
The Board of County Supervisors cut two printed newsletters, voted to focus resources on online communication.
Prince William County will shift its methods of communication with taxpayers to match the changing times, with staff members publishing more information online and less in printed newsletters.
The Board of County Supervisors unanimously voted on Tuesday to reduce the number of printed newsletters it produces each year, and use the savings to spend on staff members who can instead publish information on the county's website and via social media.
County Executive Melissa Peacor said that the intent was to provide information more quickly during emergencies and other time-sensitive cases.
"Never in my life did I think we'd have an earthquake, but during an emergency situation, online media is really the only way we can communicate," Peacor said.
Printed information remains important for people who are not computer literate or do not have a computer, she said.
Gainesville supervisor Peter Candland had proposed the initial cuts in the number of newsletters from four to two. He said that he had hoped the savings—around $100,000—would be passed on to taxpayers.
"We can’t provide an additional service to the citizens of Prince William without having the resources to do that," Peacor replied.
Instead of publishing four newsletters each year, the county will publish just two: one in May and one in January. The plan calls for creation of a full-time equivalent staff position, using the savings from the reduced number of newsletters.
"This is just a way to use the current resources to provide information in a way people want. Some like it in print, but a lot of people like it online," Peacor said.
Correction: The initial article indicated that the county's communications office would have a new name. That is not the case.