Local Commentary

Our Man in Arlington

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Announcing a nutritious addition to the reading diet of the well-informed Arlingtonian.

Arlington Magazine, a bimonthly lifestyle grab-bag, will be on a newsstand or subscription list near you by late October.

Though any new publishing venture is chancy even in the best of economies (remember them?), this one promises new depth and intimacy in chronicling our county’s fast-changing setting and inhabitants.

Greg Hamilton, the magazine’s founder, president and publisher, comes with a pedigree of downtown publication marketing know-how. (I know because I was in his stable of bargain-rate consultants, and he’ll be using a few of my scribblings.)

Hamilton is partnering with the prosperous Bethesda Magazine, an ad-packed success story that targets an affluent area roughly the same-size population as Arlington. “We’ll tap into civic pride and enthusiasm for living here,” he says.

Feel like you’re already overloaded on reading matter?

Without giving away trade secrets for keeping a finger on Arlington’s pulse, I’ll review the bidding in the local publication sweepstakes.

The Washington Post: Just closed its suburban bureaus, but still breaks some local scoops.

• The D.C. Examiner: Replaced the peppy round-the Beltway-zoned Journal Newspapers, but is tossed on too many lawns.

The Washington Times: Struggling, moved mostly online but staff recently revitalized.

• The Sun-Gazette: Formerly the Northern Virginia Sun, its small but scrappy staff provides thorough and detailed county coverage.

• The Arlington Connection: Like the Sun-Gazette, part of a regional chain, it publishes elegant, smart hometown profiles.

Falls Church News-Press: Selective slices of Arlington life!

The Arlington Historical Magazine: A venerated annual not well-known enough (another disclosure: I’m a contributor).

• ARLNow: This daily (sometimes hourly) local news blog has taken the online audience by storm. A must for local info. addicts.

The Citizen: The county government’s print and online newsletter is highly readable for an official outlet.

Northern Virginia Magazine: Monthly that covers Arlington among other fine jurisdictions.

• The Patch: AOL’s online pushout has grown more substantive since the struggling pioneer of new media bought the Huffington Post, but it’s inconsistent.

Rosslyn magazine: A nice color glossy from the riverside business improvement district.

• The Arlington Insider: An e-mail heads-up from the government available upon request, as are a police crime report and a real-time emergency preparedness alert.

All these choices, I believe, leave a niche open for Arlington Magazine, whose tag line reads “serving Arlington, McLean and Falls Church.” (It’s not like there are checkpoints at the borders.)

What’s fresh here, Hamilton says, is the plan for 4,000-word articles on, say, a local whom people admire. The magazine’s promotional copy promises “to help readers enjoy the good life that Arlington offers, but not shy away from covering the challenges the community faces.”

A prototype on its website (www.arlingtonmagazine.com) has an edgy cover story on “Which Arlington schools have the best teachers?”

Targeting our increasingly youthful and urbanized suburb, the magazine will gun for readers in both north and south Arlington.

Hamilton says his team is taking a chance that the print medium is still robust, as long as there’s a Web presence riding sidecar.

“One of our goals,” he says, “is for readers to know or know of someone in every issue.”

Reading a great local publication should feel like conversing with your most fascinating neighbors. May Arlington Magazine deliver.

 


Charlie Clark may be e-mailed at cclarkjedd@aol.com

 

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