My 11-year-old and I had just settled into our seats for a mid-July screening of the latest summertime kids’ flick when a commercial for a major retailer appeared on the screen. The topic? Back-to-school shopping.
“No!” said my son, feigning horror. “Not yet!”
But as anyone who has been in or near a store since about July Fourth knows, back-to-school is just around the corner, difficult as that is to believe. (Although some of us think the retailers really just want to get back-to-school out of the way to start stocking Christmas items in early September.)
Like it or not, the calendar will inevitably hit September. We know we’re there as the pools close and the schools reopen. For many parents, it’s a return to routine – albeit with the added stress of homework, school activities and early bedtimes and wake-up calls. For kids, of course, the new school year is filled with a mixture of excitement and trepidation – even more so for those, such as my son, who enter the brave new world of middle school this fall.
For parents with kids in school, fall always brings a new cycle and new beginnings – even more so than January 1. And so it is this fall for Washington FAMILY Magazine. In last month’s “Mom Blog,” former owner and publisher Brenda Hyde said her goodbyes as she sold Washington FAMILY to Northern Virginia Media Services.
For 23 years, this magazine was Brenda’s baby, given just as much love and nurturing as her biological children. She grew it from literally a one-woman operation into a prominent regional magazine and an indispensable resource for parents throughout our bustling area. Brenda also entertained and informed you every month through her “Mom Blog.”
Although the “Dad Blog” will not be a regular feature, we did want to use the space this month to talk about the magazine’s new parents, if you will. In addition to this magazine, our company, Northern Virginia Media Services, publishes five weekly newspapers serving four counties: Leesburg Today and Ashburn Today in Loudoun; Prince William Today; the Sun Gazette in Fairfax; and the Arlington Sun Gazette. We also have a monthly newspaper in Middleburg, VA, Middleburg Life, and operate two very popular news websites: InsideNoVa.com and LeesburgToday.com.
Combined, our newspapers reach about 175,000 households, and our websites have more than 400,000 unique visitors a month. Adding FAMILY Magazine to our other publications extends our reach into the District of Columbia and Maryland. Our goal is to serve the entire Washington metro area, but despite our reach, we’re a small, family-owned company with no corporate staff. We plan to operate the magazine that way – the FAMILY way.
You may already have noticed some changes in the look and feel of the magazine. Those are the result of the outstanding work of our creative team, Steven Chi and Ashley Jabaly, and newly promoted editor, Britni Petersen. Stay tuned for more updates in the next few months. At the same time, we will be updating our website (www.WashingtonFAMILY.com) and expanding our social media presence to better connect with you – and help you find the resources you need. We want you to have access to our great information between the monthly print issues.
But we don’t have all the answers. And, even though our company may own the magazine, in reality it belongs to you – our readers. So we’re asking for your help and advice, too. What do you think this magazine should be? What kinds of content would you find useful? How can we be an even better resource for parents throughout the region? If you have thoughts on those topics or other ideas for the magazine, please join our new reader advisory panel. We’ll meet in person about once a quarter or so and in between will share ideas via e-mail. There are no obligations other than to share your opinions or react to our ideas. If you’re interested in participating, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I look forward to hearing from you, and, more importantly, to learning how FAMILY Magazine can serve you better. But I’m afraid we can’t do anything about those way-too-early back-to-school sales.
Enjoy the last few days of summer!
– Bruce Potter