Julia Shanahan covers the changing nature of public services for the Rappahannock News and Foothills Forum in Washington, Virginia. A 2021 graduate of the University of Iowa with bachelor degrees in journalism and political science, Shanahan was the politics editor at The Daily Iowan, the student-run paper. It was named the Iowa Newspaper Association’s Newspaper of the Year in 2020 and 2021, with Shanahan earning awards for her reporting. She was a finalist for national Reporter of the Year from the Associated Collegiate Press in 2020, and has interned with the Pennsylvania Legislative Correspondents’ Association. Shanahan, of Naperville, Illinois, hopes to one day report from the White House.
Beat: The changing nature of public services in Rappahannock County
Research and reporting on county life, from daily coverage to explanatory series, reveal a megatrend: there's no plan, no strategy, little official understanding of what's ahead for Rappahannock County. The county's guiding plan is nearly a decade behind its required update, and a mere 60 percent of Rappahannock is taxable property, severely restricting funding for schools and public safety. The overall population continues to decline in numbers. Our aged population (the oldest in the region, and the region's the oldest in Virginia) strains our first responders and miniscule health care infrastructure (no hospitals). County buildings are crumbling. A proposed code of conduct has floundered. This reporter covers it all. As Rappahannock approaches its bicentennial in 2033, what does the future hold for our rural home?