Tag Archives: jeff maisey

The year in silly cutlines, such as it was


PORTSMOUTH, Va. — As this blog’s first year comes to a merciful end, I will celebrate in the next couple of posts by recycling content.

I mean, looking back wistfully or some such what have you.

Point being, since the “and humble photography” part of this blog has all but been left behind in massively long interviews, I figured I could at least start out with the photos. Photo cutlines, any way.

So here’s a gallery of silly cutlines. Cutlines should be informative. These were not that.

1. Belligerent Q&A, Vol. VIII: Earl Swift, author of The Big Roads (June 4, 2011)

You are a saucy one, Earl Swift, Norfolk, Va., journalist and author of The Big Roads. Even when I crop out your tiny brass-studded leather novelty fez. Photo by John Doucette.

2. Belligerent Q&A, Vol. VII: Vivian Paige of All Politics is Local (May 18, 2011)

Vivian J. Paige, left center, and members of the Virginia Democratic Intramural Coed Soccer Team form a wall to block a free kick by Commonwealth Republicans United. Boy, these guys get happy when it comes to blocking free kicks. Courtesy photo.

3. Belligerent Q&A, Vol. XI: Writer and editor Tom Robotham (Aug. 26, 2011)

Writer and editor Tom Robotham did not realize he would be part of a blog post that would unsuccessfully link 1870s British light opera and 1980s American light rap when he agree to be photographed at the Taphouse yesterday in Norfolk, Va. As it turns out, parents just don't understand that I am the captain of the Pinafore. Photo by John Doucette.

4. Belligerent Q&A, Vol. XIII: Comedy writer and actor Sean Devereaux of The Pushers (Sept. 7, 2011)

At left is Sean Devereux, producer and co-head writer of the Hampton Roads improv and sketch comedy group The Pushers. In the foreground at right is a custom Ed Carden-shaped Chia pencil holder. Photo by John Doucette.

5. Belligerent Q&A, Vol. XVI: Hairspray author and scholar Dana Heller (Nov. 8, 2011)

Hi John: Look, when you take out this placeholder text and put in the real cutline in don't forget to make it extra funny. For Pete's sake, Dana Heller is chair of the English Department at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., where you are a student. And she's the author of a book about the John Waters film Hairspray, and Waters totally is coming to ODU on Thursday. Don't phone this one in. Bring the funny. Your pal, John. PS: Courtesy photo.

6. Belligerent Q&A, Vol. IX: Wanderlust playwrights Jeremiah Albers and Brad McMurran (June 12, 2011)

Jeremiah Albers and Brad McMurran, playwrights of Wanderlust. You'll just have to pretend this cutline is funny. Try harder. Yeah. There you are. Photo by John Doucette.

7. Belligerent Q&A, Vol. IV: Jeff Maisey of Veer Magazine (April 16, 2011)

Despite any impression given by this image's bright lighting, Veer publisher and editor Jeff Maisey is not a being composed of pure energy and power. Yet. Photo by Kathy Keeney.

8. Ted Danson coming to Norfolk for talk with Mike D’Orso (April 9, 2011)

During a recent reading at Borjo Coffeehouse in Norfolk, Va., author Mike D'Orso points out something in a book he is holding. The microphone pretends to understand, but the microphone has a painful secret — illiteracy. Photo by John-Henry Doucette.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Defining alternative media in Hampton Roads


NORFOLK, Va. – HearSay with Cathy Lewis earlier this month had a panel on alternative media in Hampton Roads region, which effectively was a discussion about the monthly print pub Veer Magazine and the online outlet AltDaily.

Though it aired Aug. 10, I finally had a chance to hear the whole thing this past week, and mention it here in large part because I’ve written about alternative media here and elsewhere, and I have a loosely scheduled interview for this blog that surely will touch upon the topic.

Lewis’ guests were:

  • AltDaily publisher Hannah Serrano and editor-in-chief Jesse Scaccia. AltDaily is an online outlet, though Serrano said they’ll role out a print product of some kind later this year. Looking forward to it. AltDaily‘s strongest content, including its sharp take on news reported elsewhere, could do well on the page.
  • Veer Magazine publisher and editor Jeff Maisey. Veer is a monthly publication similar in some respects to the defunct PortFolio Weekly, which Maisey once edited. Veer‘s website, which is fairly straight forward, is due for a facelift soon, he noted.

Overall, a good talk. I had one minor issue, and I’ll come back to it, but I want to stress:

  1. I love HearSay and public radio, and am glad Lewis covered this on her show.
  2. I consume both AltDaily and Veer Magazine, in addition to The Virginian-Pilot and a variety of other local media, such as Vivian Paige’s All Politics Is Local blog.
  3. The conversation absolutely is worth a listen at this link.

Lewis opened with a definition:

Broadly speaking, we might think about alternative media as those publications or shows or websites or institutions that share news that often because of commercial media business models aren’t necessarily part of the mainstream media.

So you will find stories in the alternative press that you may not find in your standard media outlets. And if you’ve been a media consumer in Hampton Roads for a long time you will probably recall (the now defunct) PortFolio Weekly.

Over the course of the show, she asked each guest to offer their definition.

Maisey said:

One of the positives of having alternative media is when the major media companies choose to pull back, whether it’s difficult economic times like we have now or whatever, alternative media, whether it’s AltDaily online or Veer in print and online, we’re able to fill that void to make sure that many important things in the community get covered that might not get covered at all.

Later he added:

I think being in alternative media, it’s also giving a second opinion. … It’s also about not being censored.

Serrano’s answer was cut short, unfortunately, but she tried to discuss independence – an often suggested flaw of The Pilot-owned PortFolio – while also apparently trying to note that some corporate owned pubs can do well:

Well alternative media, it’s interesting to describe because I think it’s mostly based on content but definitely ownership is a major part of it. Independent ownership of media is a clear definer, but I do want to make a specific point of the difference between PortFolio Weekly and a sister publication Style Weekly in Richmond which is also owned by Targeted Publications and (Virginian-Pilot Media Companies).

This comment was cut short, but Style is an effective alternative publication whereas PortFolio (for which I wrote from time time) was in some ways less successful, though they share/shared the same ownership. I think it probably has a lot to do with the fact that, with PortFolioThe Pilot effectively owned both the dominant paper and the “alternative” weekly in the same Hampton Roads market. Whereas The Pilot/Landmark owns Style in Richmond but the dominant outlet is The Richmond Times-Dispatch. The T-D is owned not by The V-P’s parent company but by Media General. Competition is good for outlets and consumers alike.

Lewis put the “what is alternative” question to Scaccia, prompting this exchange:

Scaccia: I think the word alternative in and of itself is kind of establishment-centric. So that’s not a word I would necessarily –

Lewis: What would you call it? Alternative as in alternative to the establishment with air quotes around that word.

Scaccia: Yeah and all the values that comes with sort of an establishment mindset. So I think we’re just something different, working in the same city as The Pilot and any other establishment mainstream media. … I think the benefit that we have is we kind of decided early on to object to the idea of objectivity. You never stop being a person. It’s not like you become a reporter and God lifts you up onto the mountain and you can see everything clearly now. So all of our writing is first person. … We have viewpoints and our writers certainly have viewpoints.

I think Scaccia did a good job summing up what makes some of AltDaily‘s content a worthwhile read to me, and also why the site is a different beast than Veer.

My very minor beef: I wish there had been more discussion of original public interest reporting, which is an area that makes good alternative media outlets even better.

HearSay airs from noon to 1 p.m., Monday through Friday, on WHRV 89.5 FM. You can find out more about the program and its host at this link.

A link to AltDaily is here.

A link to Veer is here.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Belligerent Q&A, Vol. IV: Jeff Maisey of Veer Magazine


Despite any impression given by this image's bright lighting, Veer publisher and editor Jeff Maisey is not a being comprised of pure energy and power. Yet. Photo by Kathy Keeney.

Norfolk, Va., publisher, editor and writer Jeff Maisey started Veer Magazine, a monthly alternative publication and website serving the Hampton Roads region, two years ago following the death of PortFolio Weekly.

Veer, while carrying the name of another former local music zine, also carries a bit of the feel of the defunct PortFolio – not to mention some of the pub’s strongest contributors.

An online shell of PortFolio lurched along until December, when a note was posted about what its author insists on calling a “digital double” of the print edition. Saying it don’t make it so. Because nothing says so long alt weekly like a note from a “staff” gutted years earlier, and what appears to be stock art.

At least we’ve got Veer and AltDaily, two alternative outlets with their own voices, rather than an “alternative” published by the dominant media source.

Maisey had edited PortFolio until its demise as a free weekly in early 2009, and quickly put the nuts and bolts in place to launch Veer. Among the Veer contributors who should be familiar to folks around here are Jim Newsom, Leona Baker, Larry Bonko, Kristen de Deyn Kirk, Montague Gammon III, and Patrick Evans-Hylton – not to mention longtime PortFolio editor Tom Robotham, Maisey’s predecessor in that gig.

About a year ago, Maisey told me his research with advertisers showed they would back a version of PortFolio without the political tone for which it was known under Robotham. That said, Veer for some time now has had Robotham batting lead-off with an essay that can be reflective or give the pub a little bite. This month he addresses the tension between those that filled the PortFolio void and the company that created the void in the first place.

This past week, Maisey said he has ideas in the works for more publications. He recently launched Afr-Am, aimed at the local African American community, and more may be on the way – including ideas that sound like they will directly challenge a few pubs produced by Maisey’s old employer. We recently traded emails on Veer, light rail, and the quantification of TV news personality hotness.

Q: Just who do you think you are? Please use three examples in your response.

Today I’m a romantic, smart-ass travel addict in need of a fix. That’s three, right?

Q: Veer is celebrating its second birthday. Given the past struggles of other alternative publications in Hampton Roads, including PortFolio, is wishing you another two years in the print business a blessing or a curse in the internet age?

I hope you wish us more than two additional years. Independently published magazines – and I’m talkin’ PRINT –  in this region are actually flourishing. We are seeing growth and additional opportunities. I launched a new monthly magazine in February geared to the African American community. What’ll we launch next? A weekly business journal, parenting pub or catalog of apartments? Hmmm … stay tuned.

Q: As a musician and longtime music writer, what is it about the local music scene that keeps you from giving up the legwork and just holing up in your abode and letting iTunes do the heavy lifting for you?

A thriving local music scene is essential to the quality of life in any city/region. The more that can be done to bring attention to it…the better. Plus, who doesn’t like reading about themselves?

Q: The Virginian-Pilot’s Deirdre Fernandes recently reported that extending light rail from the Norfolk border to the Oceanfront could run about $807 million. Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms told The Pilot that “sounds like a lot of money” and also “my gut would question whether the ridership would be there to justify the cost.” Set aside troubling implication that the mayor seems to quantify sums with his ear and gives serious consideration to the skepticism of his gastrointestinal tract. Why so much hesitant language at this point? Should we continue to invest in rail given the road and tunnel situation, economic development potential, etc? Or do we need the time out to consider stuff like “rapid transit” buses?

I penned a commentary on this topic in the April 15 issue of Veer and could talk additional hours over a beer on any given afternoon. For any mass transit system to work it needs to be practical and run efficiently, on-time and frequently. Anything less will result in low ridership. Over 50 years ago Norfolk had an electric trolly (light rail) that extended from downtown, down Granby Street and to Ocean View. Many businesses and residential areas were within a few blocks of the rail line.

Given the updated estimate – which will likely go up to $1 billion – for extending light rail from Newtown Road to the Oceanfront, I’d say the numbers aren’t favorable for a city – Virginia Beach – whose residents have been less than enthusiastic overall on the notion. So if Norfolk’s light rail goes no greater distance than it’ll serve this year, I’m less than optimistic about its long term health. Both end-of-the-lines are pedestrian dead zones. Any real ridership will be confined to downtown and maybe as far as the baseball stadium.

But, again, if the train isn’t convenient to my schedule, it might be quicker to just walk to my destination and save the dollar. And I’m an advocate for rail. As for ‘rapid transit buses,’ on a region-wide scale, it’s just not gonna work for the reasons I previously stated. I’d be happy if the NET bus route was extended to 21st Street and Colley Avenue. BUT it needs to operate more frequently and from 8 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. Needs to serve the 9-to-5 workforce as well as diners, bar hoppers, concertgoers and get Ghent dwellers home safely when the Tides go extra innings.

Q: Veer recently named Laila Muhammad the sexiest television newsperson in Hampton Roads. Did you ask Larry Bonko to watch evening TV until he became suitable aroused, or was there some other methodology?

Nearly 10,000 votes were cast online. That’s enough to get someone elected mayor in this town! Some people thought the subject matter was beneath Veer, but the pickup rate was great and we attracted some new readers, who, admittedly, probably watch an unappetizing array of American Idol and Dancing with the Stars. Hopefully, they scanned the other pages within Veer as well.

Q. We’ve covered so much ground here. What else would you like to say?

Good night and good luck!

The new edition hit the stands on Friday. Here’s a link to the places you can pick it up.

By way of belated full disclosure, I used to string for PortFolio and have contributed occasionally to Robotham’s TReehouse Magazine website, including some writing about Veer and AltDaily.

And Maisey and I are both “Survivors of Landmark,” so there’s that. Remember, “SOL” tees are available at this blog’s Merch store.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 63 other followers