If the group of writers, photographers, editors, sales people, graphics designers and office personnel on the cover of this paper look familiar, it's because we used to all be on the staff of The Message for the Week.
With the bankruptcy of Eagle Publications and the Twin Sate Valley Media Network, of which The Message was a part, that paper disappeared on July 10 - along with our jobs! As a staff we felt we had been working hard as a team to make The Message the best weekly in the area. It was with great sadness that we experienced its demise, along with the Eagle Times, The Spectator and The Weekly Flea.
Co-editor Joe Milliken and I were able to keep in constant contact with each other and with all the employees of The Message following the bankruptcy announcement, and to a person we were interested in staying together as a team and creating a new, Southern Vermont and New Hampshire newspaper that would fill the void left by the loss of The Message. A new paper focused on positive local community and business news and events, local sports, the area's terrific arts and entertainment scene, food and lifestyle features.
There were and are all sorts of folks interested in doing the same thing, but we feel we have an advantage. A newspaper is not a name, it is the people who create it and the spirit and attitude that they bring to their work. That's what we have. As a group, we are the soul of what had once been a great community newspaper, and that spirit comes with us.
Where that spirit - and the staff - has gone is here, to The Messenger. Beneath the masthead on the cover we clearly state our purpose to be a "Community News, Sports, Arts, Entertainment and Food" newspaper "for Southern Vermont and New Hampshire." We love this region - its talented people, its rich natural beauty, its close-knit communities and its unique cultural offerings. Every week we promise to pour our hearts into telling this region's stories and keeping our readers advised of as many events as space allows.
We'll tell the stories of the great-grandmother celebrating her 100th birthday, and we'll write about her teenage great-grandson's new metal band. As in this initial issue's stories on the late, wonderful teacher Claire Ogelsby, SAPA TV and on local musicians like the Davis Brothers, Bernie Moss and Frydaddy, each week we'll have lots of in-house features on the diverse people and events that make this such a great region to live in.
The Messenger will have the same huge, Southern Vermont and New Hampshire coverage area, from Brattleboro and Keene to Rutland and Claremont, and will also be direct mailed just like The Message was, to over an amazing 20,000 households in our key readership area from the very first issue! It will have a towns-style format, along with the local Sports, A&E, Food and Home & Garden sections each week.
It has taken a great deal of work by several people to create a paper to fill the void left by the loss of The Message, and if ever there were a time that we need support from our advertisers, this is it! The next few weeks will be crucial for the success of The Messenger, which is really YOUR paper, for your communities.
So many people lamented the demise of The Message, now we need your support for The Messenger! The fact that we've been able to come out of the blocks with a 32-page premier issue of a brand new newspaper only seven weeks after The Message ceased publication shows the remarkable support many former advertisers gave us. Thank you!
From the moment The Message's doors closed, there was considerable industry interest in filling the news gap left. New Market Press, out of Middlebury, VT was one of the serious newspaper publishers that stepped up to help us, and over the course of a couple of weeks, we were able to work out an arrangement to create a great new area paper.
We did an extensive search for office space in our central
Chester-Springfield-Bellows Falls distribution area. Our new location will be at 51 The Square in Bellows Falls, the former Bulls Eye Music
store. It's a bright, interesting, street-level space in the middle of a vibrant community, and we're very excited to launch this new endeavor there.
On behalf of all of the staff, we want to thank all of our readers and advertisers for the great support we received during the past several weeks. With your help, we're determined to make The Messenger the bestweekly in Southern Vermont!