Tim Jackson pulled the plug last week — at least for the time being — on the print edition of The New River Voice.
Launched eight months ago with a lot of hope, NRV worked to provide a regional paper that combined news, social commentary and entertainment reporting. Built on the "give the paper away free and support the whole thing with ads" model that made City Paper founder Russ Smith a millionaire in the Washington and Baltimore markets, NRV attracted about 15,000 readers to the print edition but not enough advertisers to pay the bills, much less give Jackson and his partner a living.
He gave us a heads up a few weeks ago, saying two more editions would be printed before shutting down that part of the operation. Tim hoped for a last-minute bailout and perhaps a buyer.
Didn’t happen. In Friday’s edition, Tim wrote:
When we began this publication eight months ago, I was wide-eyed and optimistic with a desire to lead the charge for progressive thought in the New River Valley. I thought the best way to do this was to print a free publication that would be distributed to thousands of people across the valley. And that’s exactly what we did. Our readership is somewhere around the 15,000 mark for our print publication and I would like to thank all who have ever picked up a copy of the Voice. And I know that’s a lot of you.
But in a sluggish economy and with essentially no advertising sales representatives to speak of, it just doesn’t make financial sense to continue publishing a print version. I appreciate the advertisers we have had, and I hope you will continue to support us. The fact is, however, that we’ve lost money on almost every issue of the New River Voice. And we’re not some huge corporation. We’re just a couple poor working folks trying to make a difference. In fact, my accountant is chagrined that we kept it going this long.
But we’re not finished yet. Our print product is going away—at least for now. If we can line up sufficient support and sign up advertisers to some long-term contracts, we might be back in print. But for now, we want you to continue keeping up with the progressive news and views and the best reviews that the NRV has to offer—online.
As Tim said, NRV will continue online and may return one day as a print publication. We hope it does. The Voice deserved a better fate. (Cover illustration courtesy of The New River Voice)