Tuesday, August 18, 2009
A New Weekly Newspaper for Vinton
Chris Manning, who was once the advertising director for Main Street Newspapers in the Roanoke Valley, will launch his own weekly newspaper, the Vinton Voice, Aug. 26 because he believes Main Street no longer serves Vinton adequately.
Chris was at our Arts Council of the Blue Ridge Writers Workshop tonight and talked a bit about the genesis of the Vinton Voice, which he will publish and edit. He teamed with Gene Marrano, who also was with Main Street as an editor until he was laid off last February, to talk about freelancing in the area.
Chris, a native of Vinton who wrote a book (One Team, One Dream) about his William Byrd High School state championship baseball team, says he has "a passion for my hometown" and that he will "try to generate the kind of excitement that has been lost in the last few years. It's a small town and it needs something to be passionate about."
Chris will produce what has become a successful formula over the years for weeklies: a mixture of community news and features with a heavy emphasis on schools and sports. Lots of names and photos. In this economy. In this newspaper climate. "I read recently in Quill magazine," he said, "that the only newspapers showing growth in recent years are community newspapers."
A number of years ago--make that a large number of years ago--I was the editor of the Vinton Messenger, which, insiders have told me, Main Street has talked about closing because it makes little money, when it makes any at all. It has no presence in town since the closing of its office several years ago.
A subscription will cost $25 a year. The print run, says Chris, will be 3,000 (Vinton has 3,200 households) and about a third of them will be mailed free to homes initially.
"I announced this in 600 e-mails," he said tonight. "In two hours, I had 50 responses. That told me something."