As everyone knows, when the Twin State Valley Media Network/Eagle Times went bankrupt in July, the former Message For The Week was one of the casualties.
However, one of the good things that came from the bad situation is that nearly all of The Message team stayed together and with help of Middlebury's New Market Press, a publisher of several independent Vermont weeklies, we were able to start The Messenger in just two months time after The Message had stopped publication.
We are also very proud to say that nearly all of our editorial and sales staff remains on board today.
When The Messenger hit the streets, it didn't seem as though the Message For The Week would resume publication. However, recently the bankrupt Eagle Times was purchased by a large Pennsylvania publishing company, The Sample Media Group.
They have now resumed publication of the Weekly Flea, The Eagle Times and now it appears, the possibility of the Message for the Week.
To that end, they have requested through a Pittsburgh-based lawyer that we desist from using the name The Messenger for our new paper, with the threat of legal action against us.
It seems they recognize that The Messenger, with 20,500 direct-mailed copies and another 5,000 dropped copies, has truly taken over the position as the most widely distributed and read weekly in Southern Vermont. This was due, not in a small part, because the same people who were creating The Message For The Week were now creating The Messenger.
They feel the similarity in the names will "create confusion and mistake" in the marketplace if The Message resumes publication at some point in the future.
When we created The Messenger, the name was registered with the State of Vermont and approved by the Secretary of State.
We also feel we've done quite well, in a very short period of time, in establishing our own very clear and distinct identity.
Despite this fact, we have no desire to waste time, energy and money entangled in a lengthy legal battle with a large, out-of-state publishing company.
The staff here at The Outlook is dedicated to producing the best possible product for the dozens of communities we serve, and that's where we want to put our energy and efforts. We simply do not want to be sidetracked by legalities over something as trivial as a name.
We recognize that the heart and soul of a paper is not in its' name, but its' content and the people who create it for the communities they love.
Therefore, our staff got together and agreed to move away from this situation quickly and cleanly, so we could solely focus on what we have been doing and will continue to do - producing the best and by far the most widely read and distributed weekly community paper in Southern Vermont.
A staff brain-storming session came up with the new name, The Green Mountain Outlook, and we feel it expresses not only our positive, community-orientated publication, but the new direction we have been establishing all along.
We will continue to pack into each issue as much community news, events, local sports, arts and entertainment that our pages will allow, and we always encourage our faithful readers to continue sending us their story ideas and press releases.
Because after all, The Outlook is the people's paper. It belongs to the people and we wouldn't have it any other way. We wish the best of luck to the new newspaper folks over in Claremont, NH and thank all of our loyal readers and advertisers for their continued support.