New Magazine Coming to Greensboro
Maybe Thomas Wolfe couldn’t go home again, but William Sydney Porter — whose pen name was “O. Henry” — arrives in Greensboro, his birthplace, on July 9.
O.Henry magazine, patterned after Moore County’s PineStraw magazine, will feature Greensboro writers, photographers, people, places and events. Jim Dodson will serve as editor and David Woronoff as publisher. The two men hold corresponding positions with PineStraw.
Like William Sydney Porter (1862-1910), Dodson is a son of Greensboro. He is also an award-winning storyteller known for his Sunday essays in The Pilot and his “Sweet Tea Chronicles” in PineStraw.
Andie Rose, PineStraw’s founder and creative director, will design the magazine. PineStraw editorial assistant/writer Ashley Wahl staffs the Greensboro office. The magazine will also feature admired Greensboro bylines such as Jim Schlosser, Maria Johnson and David Bailey. Like PineStraw, O.Henry will be printed in Richmond, Va.
A Greensboro arts magazine has been a gleam in Dodson’s eye practically forever.
“Andie and I have been talking about another magazine for three years — either Raleigh or Greensboro,” Dodson says, noting that Greensboro was a natural, given his contacts. “Greensboro is an arts city with a literary history. They hunger for a magazine that focuses on the things they love. We need to do this now, before somebody else does.”
Woronoff said yes in December. “Jim’s been pestering me for two years,” he says.
Several years ago, Woronoff and his Pilot partners had considered purchasing The News & Record of Greensboro. “Thank goodness we decided against that,” he says. “This economy hasn’t been kind to metropolitan newspapers.”
A feasibility study suggested magazines are a different story, especially given PineStraw’s success.
“PineStraw is as good as or better than any big-city magazine,” Woronoff believes. “In Jim, we’ve got a world-class editor and writer. Greensboro is his passion.”
Woronoff and partners provided start-up funding — a relatively minimal investment.
“We set a number but haven’t hit it yet,” he says.
Ad sales have been encouraging, reports Pilot/PineStraw’s circulation director, Darlene Stark, who is overseeing the start-up. Already, Stark reports that 11º out of 30 pages have been sold — one full page to the North Carolina Symphony, a good sign.
“The business community has been overwhelmingly positive — not a voice of doubt,” Woronoff says. He says he learned that when people form an emotional connection to a magazine, as they have to PineStraw, they patronize its advertisers.
“That’s the model we will take to Greensboro,” he says.
Although O.Henry will employ the PineStraw format, Woronoff is adamant that the coverage be limited to Greensboro, as The Pilot and, for the most part, PineStraw cover only Moore County. The magazine will be offered free of charge. Six issues are planned for the first year.
“We’ll see after that,” Woronoff says.
Lodging establishments, including the classic O.Henry Hotel, have expressed interest in room placement. However, Woronoff and Dodson stress that O.Henry will not be a typical “city magazine” aimed at tourists.
The premiere issue features John Hart, author of best-selling “The King of Lies” and “Down River,” plus an excerpt from his new book. Hart — a friend of Woronoff’s since their prep school days and recipient of two straight Edgar Awards from the Mystery Writers of America — lives in Greensboro, which Dodson describes as “a wonderful community of writers.”
Above all, designer Rose emphasizes, O.Henry will be its own magazine, not a Greensboro PineStraw.
“The arts people are thirsting for it,” she says. “They are so excited.”
Contact Deborah Salomon at email@example.com.
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