Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Joy of Having an Adversary

Tim Thornton turned in his first story for Valley Business FRONT--the magazine I co-own and edit--last night and I was simply felled by its excellence. Tim, you'll remember if you've been following this blog, was asked to resign by The Roanoke Times a couple of weeks ago, another in a recent spate of dismissals of solid, experienced reporters.

We've managed to pull four of them in to our publication as contributors and Tim's the latest (joining Alison Weaver, who's done two covers and been named Contributor of the Issue twice; Rob Johnson, the former RT business editor who has written May's cover; and Jay Conley, who has written several stories so far for us). Each has been superb. We've also just given an assignment to recently-resigned Roanoker Magazine editor Marie Hodge, a woman whose resume would simply slay you.

Their job losses have been our gain, though I genuinely feel for where each of them is right now. Being without a full-time job in this economy is not pretty.

In any case, I'm fulfilling a fantasy I had a number of years ago after The Roanoke Times fired me the first time (and, boy! did I ever deserve it!). I really wanted to put together some of the alumni, especially those who had been run off for whatever reason, to compete with the paper. Now, we're doing it. We're not competing head to head daily on news, but we're competing for stories and we're winning a lot of battles.

The people who read our magazine tell us they love it. I can't remember the last time I heard "Roanoke Times" and "love" in the same sentence. I have heard "Roanoke Times" and "sumbitches" in the same sentence, though I have argued it ain't necessarily so. Lot of good people in those halls. We're also winning a lot of advertising battles in head-to-head competition and that's what will make us either succeed or fail, ultimately.

I honestly don't think I'd be having nearly as much fun with this project if we didn't have an adversary that we can pick at like a scab--especially one that is as easy a target as the RT often makes itself. It's simply a lot more fun than being out there alone, as we were at the Business Journal for so many years.


  1. Good luck to you and Tim... Incidentally, your "Front" logo only links to a copy of the logo; if there's a link to the magazine itself (, I didn't see it.

  2. Bob:

    Thank you. There's a link to the site now. Incidentally, as of last week, we no longer give the magazine away free in print form. We've gone to $36 a year subscription only. Of course, the Web site posting will remain free each month.

    Dan Smith