A few years ago, after leaving a career in local government public affairs, I embarked on a new career as a freelance journalist. In April 2011 I began writing a weekly column on local issues for AOL’s Leesburg Patch. Before long I was also writing news stories and taking photos that appeared in Leesburg Patch and Ashburn Patch.

In March 2012, I began writing and taking photos for the Loudoun Extra and Local Living sections of the Washington Post, and later began covering stories in Prince William and Fairfax counties for the Post, as well. Occasionally, I have a story in the Post’s Travel, Real Estate or Metro sections.

It gradually occurred to me that I was developing a “body of work,” such as it is, and that it would be useful to create centralized place to collect these news stories and columns.

This was my motivation for recreating this blog — Notes n Letters — where I may also occasionally go off on my own from time to time and write about things that interest me, but which may not have a home in the commercial news media.

Thank you for your interest!

— Jim Barnes, freelance writer based in Leesburg, Va.

Note: Photos used on this site have not previously been published elsewhere.

19 thoughts on “About”

  1. Did you by any chance attend the journalism school at the University of Missouri in the mid-’70s?

  2. I’m trying to find an electronic copy or link to your recent article on LCPS Parent Liaisons that appeared in the December 20, 2015, Loudoun Extra. My search at Washington Post online and this blog have resulted in 0 results.

    1. Thanks for writing, Lisa! Stories from the Loudoun Extra section of the Sunday post usually go online the next day. You can find the link from my blog now.


  3. Hi Jim — You wrote an article in 2014 about a new inpatient hospice facility that opened in Loudon County. I am curious about your interest in covering a new inpatient unit that opened in Washington, DC. Do you have an email address I can use to provide additional information?

  4. Is this Jim Barnes whose mother was Hanna, friend of Carol Jo Williams? If so, I’d like to invite you to a memorial service for J.D. Williams in April.

  5. Hi Mr. Barnes, I enjoyed your feature on the Weston, WV Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Sunday’s Washington Post. My little town, Philippi, is a short distance from Weston and is filled with history, also. I invite you to come and visit us! We can boast the site of the first land battle of the Civil War (history books call it the Philippi Races), the site of the Civil War’s first amputation (Confederate soldier James E. Hanger lost his leg in the battle and was so dissatisfied with the wooden leg given him he went home and designed a much better prosthetic — the beginning of his international prosthetic company, the Hanger Corporation.), and the home of the country’s only dual barreled covered bridge still in use on a federal highway (the Philippi Covered Bridge on Rt. 250). We also have the Historical Museum which is home to two former patients of the Lunatic Asylum whose remains were mummified in the late 1880s (the Philippi Mummies), a stunning 1903 Courthouse and a lovingly restored 1870 mansion, Adaland Mansion at Philiippi (www.adaland.org). This coming weekend we commemorate the 157th Anniversary of the First Land Battle of the Civil War with the 29th Annual Blue & Gray Reunion (www.blueandgrayreunion.org). Check out the webpage for a complete schedule of the May 31-June 3, 2018 weekend of activities. We would love to greet you on the Main Street of Philippi, WV !

    1. Karen,
      Thank you for your post! I’m glad you enjoyed the article. Yes, next time I’m out that way, I’d like to see Philippi. Our guide in Weston mentioned the museum there.

      Coincidentally, I’m also familiar with the story of James E. Hanger — he is my third cousin (four times removed)! I wasn’t aware that Philippi was the site of his injury and amputation.

      Thanks again,

  6. Hi Jim,
    I saw your Washington Post story about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I work with Visit Orlando and wish we had known you were visiting, we would have happily helped with your trip and hotel. If you are doing any further stories/visits to Orlando, please let me know. I work with other travel brands – Princess Cruises among them – so would very much like to connect to share information and keep you abreast of all client news.
    Gabby McNamara

  7. Your son is awesome and a genius and that’s all thanks to you and your genius. Thank you, sir <3

  8. Hi Mr Barnes, I’m pretty sure I was sitting next to your box the other night at Will’s concert. I was hoping for a chance to let you know – you must be proud. Your son saved my son’s life. Not by himself, but certainly played a big part. I have spent more nights than I can count this past year driving around Loudoun County to DC through the middle of the night listening to CSH.

    Seeing my 16 year-old LCPS student alive, and so happy to be standing 20 ft away from the stage, singing every word to what has become our anthems… I teared up as I watched you and your wife also enjoying the same show. This world needs more parents that support their kids like we do.

    Thank you.

    1. Thank you for your kind words! It is very gratifying to hear about the positive effects Will’s music has had on so many young people, in particular. I’m glad to hear that you and your son enjoyed the show. It may not have been my wife and me that you saw there; we weren’t in a box, but were in a reserved section behind the sound and lighting controls. But we were both there and had a blast! My best wishes to you and your family!

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