The owner of the Chesterfield Observer is launching Henrico Monthly, a magazine that will cater to readers in the western part of Henrico County. The first issue is set to be released in March.
Observer publisher Greg Pearson said the company would mail the new magazine to about 50,000 Henrico homes west of Interstate 95.
“The staff started talking about an expansion about six months ago,” Pearson said. “There was a general consensus that Henrico would the best place to do that.”
Henrico Monthly will include a mix of hard news and lifestyle reporting, Pearson said. It will be modeled after Chesterfield Monthly, which the Observer company started printing last April.
Some content will overlap between both monthly magazines, but Pearson said the Henrico version would also cover local schools and government.
He said Chesterfield Monthly’s Q&As with U.S. Senate candidates George Allen and Tim Kaine are good examples of the in-depth coverage readers can expect.
“We’re doing real news,” he said. “When you do an interview with two former governors at 4,000 words each, that shows a sizable commitment to informing the public.”
The new publication will rely on the Observer’s current staff of 15 people plus freelancers.
Pearson would not discuss startup costs for the new publication but said the bulk of the expenses would come from mailing the publication to so many homes.
“Sometimes it seems like we are single-handedly trying to keep the post office viable,” Pearson said. “They love us over there.”
The magazine, which will be free to Henrico homeowners, will be funded through advertisement sales. Pearson said the magazine’s ad space is particularly valuable because the circulation numbers are audited independently.
Chesterfield Monthly has a circulation of about 64,000. The Observer reaches an audience of about 69,000.
Pearson said he’d like to see those numbers increase over the next several years.
“Sales and circulation for our print publications are growing, but we still have some room for growth,” Pearson said.