Friday, December 2, 2011

Mountain Slate

In a blog I posted a week or so ago I announced that I was Editor-in-Chief of Mountain Slate magazine, a publication aimed at informing and serving a young adult Southern West Virginia audience. Now seems like a good time to tell you a little bit more about this.

I can't tell you exactly what inspired this, but it was around the fall of 2009 that I first had the idea to create my own magazine. I was staying over at with Kelly at her place and, like usual, couldn't sleep. She would fall asleep and then I would usually go into another room and stay up with my thoughts.

I started thinking about the state of journalism in this area and I realized the newspapers around here failed to get a key demographic - the teen/young adult audience. Why? Things that they wanted covered weren't getting coverage and things that they needed to know weren't being presented in an entertaining format.

That led me to come up with an idea for a news magazine that would focus on the Princeton, WV, area. It would cover hard news as well as be full of entertaining features. I was so excited when I came up with the name. I remember when I told Kelly about it the next day -

Me: "I'm going to call it 'Prince' magazine."

Her: "We'll work on that."

That was around the end of 2009. Life and other stuff took priority and nothing of real note happened with Prince magazine for almost a year. I met Candace in the summer of 2010. With both of us having a shared interest in journalism, I felt like bringing up my magazine idea with her. She thought it was a good idea and encouraged me to pursue it.

So now we're at the end of 2010. Nothing new has really happened with this magazine idea. It's buried away under stacks and stacks of other papers. It's something I think about a lot, but I don't really do anything about it. I would joke about it a lot in the first half of 2011, saying things to the effect of, "I've been tired lately; running my own magazine is exhausting" and other lame jokes of that nature.

Things really didn't kick into high gear until the fall of 2011; a full two years after the idea first hatched in my head. By this point, the idea to broaden the magazine's horizons had already been decided. I realized that Princeton was really too small to dedicate a magazine to. A lot of Princeton problems are shared by the surrounding cities/counties, so the decision to focus on Southern West Virginia as a whole came about.

Being the journalism nerd I am, I have always kept a running list of story ideas in the memo pad of my BlackBerry. Any time I had an idea, I would type it in there. In addition to a yellow notepad of story ideas and other stuff I had jotted down, I actually had some interesting stuff that I just needed to sort out.

Prince wasn't going to work as a name anymore, so a bunch of different ideas were bounced around between Candace and I. She came up with Mountain Slate and neither one of us hated it, so that is the new name. So, there's her place in Mountain Slate magazine trivia history.

For roughly two years, all that existed for this magazine was a few pages of drawings in a manilla folder. I still use that manilla folder, but it is now bursting through with roughly 100 pages of documents and other papers. We're getting ready to transition to a new filing system.

There is a twitter account - @mountainslate and an email address - mountainslate[at], which is something I'm happy about. As things progress more, we'll work on a Facebook and Google+ page.

I have assembled a staff of roughly 5 people so far. We're not really at the point now where the staff needs to do anything, so nothing is really too binding at the moment. If anybody is interested in working in any capacity for Mountain Slate, get in touch with me.

I have set up a loose timeline and we are still on track for an April print date for issue 1. That is really all contingent on selling enough ads and raising money. When I told my mom about what I was doing, she said to me, "Are you going to be able to fill all those pages?" And I told her that writing the stories and designing the pages will be the easy and fun part. Raising the money will be a little difficult.

We're in the process of finalizing ad rates. Those should be ready in the next week or so.

That's where we're at for now. I'll be back next time with an interesting story about trying to find out information about ad rates. It was the first major road block that Mountain Slate faced. It kind of made me mad. I'll save that one for next time.

Any questions or concerns, feel free to leave them here in the comments section or shoot me a message.


  1. I'd be interested in participating in something like this. Provided I'm still within your target demographic...getting a little up in years over here. :)

  2. Thank you for your interest. I can assure you we don't discriminate based on age lol

    If you have any questions or would like to discuss how you can help out further, feel free to send an email over to