Monday, July 9, 2012

New Business Magazine Finally Available

The new Virginia Business/Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce magazine that has been so ballyhooed is here and I finally saw a copy today. There's not much way I can evaluate it that would sound fair, so I'll leave it up to you to judge its worthiness for this market.

You will recall that Chamber executives created an arrangement with Virginia Business to found this magazine and has been an enthusiastic supporter of the Richmond/Norfolk-based publication.

The "Supplement to Virginia Business" (which is on the cover) is very much like the mother ship and even the introduction is not written by the Roanoke editor, Tim Thornton, but by its publisher, who works in Richmond and promises to visit us upon occasion.

It is a smallish 30 pages (our first issue was 96 pages and we have settled on 72 since).

I will say that the content is lighter than I expected and even its most serious story--one on Virginia Tech Carilion--is warmed over, a story that has been written at least a dozen times. (We have one coming in FRONT that you haven't read.) It did not have a list of the best lawyers in the region, but I suspect that is to come sooner or later. That list seems to be a large profit center for this group, which used to be owned by Media General, but no longer is.

You will note that the address for the magazine is similar to that of the Chamber, which is because the magazine's Roanoke office is in the Chamber's offices. The last three pages of the magazine are devoted to the chamber as "sponsored content" and are, from what I've been told by those who know, part of the reason this magazine is in this market at this time.

I will mention that Tim Thornton is a solid, veteran journalist and an award-winner in environmental writing (which some of the business readers may find hard to swallow). Tim is one of dozens of former daily paper reporters who left under circumstances less than ideal (they include me and my partner Tom Field) and I wrote a couple of blog posts about his dismissal at the time that were especially vehement. Tim has written for our magazine on several occasions. I don't know the other reporters. I know one of the photographers (Doug Miller, who used to work in Roanoke, but is now based in Richmond).

In any case, welcome to the fray.

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