Sunday, March 22, 2009

eightyone going out of business

eightyone, a monthly magazine featuring contemporary issues, arts, people, and events in the central Shenandoah Valley, announced that it will publish its final issue in April. Publisher and editor Deona Landes Houff said many businesses have reduced their purchases of ad space and current revenues just don't support continuing publication. Six employees will lose jobs and contributing writers will lose a source of income.
eightyone began publication in 1998 and grew to a circulation of about 13,000 mostly in Augusta and Rockingham counties as well as the cities of Harrisonburg, Staunton, and Waynesboro.
I enjoyed reading eightyone which I'd pick up for free in a store or read while waiting in a lobby. eightyone was, in my opinion, the cream of the local crop of similar publications. I even won a contest a few years ago! But, like others, I wondered how it and similar magazines could survive without subscribers and advertisers that can be fickle even in good times. With the economic downturn hammering long-established newspapers, it isn't too surprising that eightyone found the going especially tough.
eightyone's exit will probably help other regional news and culture magazines such Charlottesville's weekly, The Hook, and Waynesboro's, The New Dominion. Perhaps they'll pick up some advertising and readers. Some solicit donations to help pay costs, but that's a tough sell - with everything available online for free, only the best publications will survive people's and businesses' closed wallets. Besides my donations will go to food pantries, Habit for Humanity, and other organizations helping people truly in need.
eightyone, you will be missed. Thanks for your contributions to the Shenandoah Valley's quality of life.

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