Illustration by Robert Meganck
Well, I can't really say that the publishing industry isn't receding, but there's good news out there if you look for it.
GayRVA.com, which I wrote about a while back, has plans for a free annual magazine arriving this fall, and the free Chesterfield Monthly magazine debuted in April. Also, Greater Richmond Grid magazine came under new ownership earlier this year, and that free, glossy bimonthly has a sleek redesign.
What made these folks stare into the eyes of what seems like financial doom? After all, no one reads print publications anymore, right? Except you, but you have exceptional taste as a reader.
GayRVA.com, which, as you'd expect from the name, started as a website. And that's where most of its content and business remains, but editor and publisher Kevin Clay is planning to release G Magazine on Sept. 28. It will feature longer form stories about local people of interest, as well as a "very editorial, fashion-forward" look with the assistance of area photographers. One thing that will set it apart from other publications is its size: 8 ½ inches by 8 ½ inches.
G was going to be published twice a year, but Clay decided to start smaller. He says it made sense in light of selling advertising and not overburdening his staff, which is one full-time person (himself) and a team of part-time contributors to the website, which celebrates its third year with a party June 15 at Gallery5.
I mentioned last month that Paul Spicer is now editor and publisher at Grid, after writing and editing media copy for the magazine previously; Leslie Strickler is also publisher. Spicer serves as marketing director at Health Diagnostic Laboratory (thanked as a supporter in the editor's letter in the March/April issue). Spicer and Strickler co-founded Etre Communications, a marketing and public-relations agency that handles work for the laboratory.
Spicer, who has written for Richmond magazine, says other colleagues operate Etre, while he works for HDL full time, but he says that he will be able to run the magazine, as well as writing articles and promoting his three books.
The magazine is a who's who of prominent local tweeters, bloggers and creative types who typically turn up at discussions of improving our city. Grid, which has received financial support over the years from Venture Richmond and Greater Richmond Partnership, has a positive, pro-Richmond feel to its content. The magazine plans to continue its association with Venture and GRPVA. Spicer says Grid will sponsor more events and get involved in nonprofit ventures, such as businesses donating ad space in the magazine to charitable causes.
"For us, Grid is a platform to celebrate the region," Spicer says. "This has always been the mission of the magazine."
I also spoke with Greg Pearson, publisher and owner of the free Chesterfield Observer and Chesterfield Monthly. He seems unfazed by all the doom and gloom reported by the Poynter Institute and other outlets. The Observer, which goes out weekly via bulk mail to "upscale households," as Pearson describes them, is making money, and the first issue of the magazine made back its costs through advertising.
He plans to maintain a mix of hard news coverage (heavy on politics) and features "appealing to females," Pearson says. Many of those stories are about home, schools and family. Nancy Nusser, who was Richmond magazine's managing editor, is the monthly's editor, as well as editor for the Observer.