Betsy W. Hinkle, 62, former editor and publisher of the Springfield Independent and Burke Herald newspapers in Northern Virginia and publisher of the Fairfax Newsletter, died of cancer Thursday at her home in Lincolnia Park.

She moved to Northern Virginia in 1949 when her husband, the late Harry Hinkle, was assigned here with the Navy. They lived in Springfield where she founded the Fairfax News letter in 1956. It is a digest of county government activities.

In 1959, the Hinkles purchased the Springfield Independent, a weekly newspaper. Mr. Hinkle died in 1976. A year later, Mrs. Hinkle founded the Burke Herald. She sold both publications to the Alexandria Gazette Corporation in 1979. She retained the Fairfax Newsletter until her death.

Mrs. Hinkle had been active in Fairfax County politics and government. She ran unsuccessfully in 1979 as the Democratic nominee for the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

She was born in Pecos, Tex. She started her career in journalism at the age of 16 as a reporter for the Pecos Enterprise. Later, she was manager of a radio station and then was a reporter with newspapers in Abilene, Tex., and California.

Mrs. Hinkle was chairman of the Fairfax County Consumer Protection Commission and a member of the Citizens Advisory Committee on the Relocation of the Fairfax County Government Complex and its subsequent Site Selection Committee.

Survivors include two daughters, Jane, of Lincolnia Park, and Martha Thorn of Haywood, Va.; a son, Lawrence, of Springfield; two sisters, Jane Ross and Mary Nan Lackey, and a brother, Lawrence Ross, all of Pecos; another brother, Adam Ross, of Jackson, Miss., and three grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Hospice of Northern Virginia, Inc.