Virginia Press Association

Member News (3/14/19): Bear Island newsprint facility shutters again, Progress-Index editor tapped to be national Gatehouse columnist, Virginian Review gets a new home

Bear Island newsprint facility shuttered again

Bear Island, a newsprint facility outside of Richmond that at one time produced newsprint for several papers around the state, has announced that the plant is closing less than a year after its reopening.

The plant,which first opened in 1979 and closed for the first time in 2017, was sold to a Canadian company last July and has been operating since then with around 140 employees.

“Currently, our biggest concern is for those employees who will be affected by this decision,”a company representative told the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “We want those employees to know that the Hanover County Department of Economic Development and our resources at the state level are on hand to assist them during this transition.”

Progress-Index editor tapped to be national columnist for Gatehouse

Bill Atkinson, assistant editor for the Progress-Index in Petersburg and the paper’s lead political correspondent, has been selected by Gatehouse Media to be one of the chain’s weekly syndicated national columnists.

Atkinson’s column will appear in Gatehouse-owned newspapers around the country each week. It will focus on subjects of national interest. Recently, he has written about the blackface scandals in Virginia and the media coverage surrounding the issue.

“It is any columnist’s dream to someday have the scope of their message widened to a national audience,” Atkinson said. “I am deeply humbled and appreciative of the opportunity Gatehouse has given me to not only share my thoughts but also provide the Progress-Index with some well-deserved exposure. This is my hometown newspaper. I learned how to read on it. It was my first newspaper job, and I am grateful for the chance to come back and hopefully wind up my career here.”

Atkinson will join other Gatehouse columnists from Oklahoma, Ohio, Florida and North Carolina.

Virginian Review to move offices

The Virginian Review will soon move to a new office building in downtown Covington.

A local business purchased the Review’s building and will move several businesses into the facility. The paper will move to 201 E. Locust St. on April 1.

Mary Ann Beirne, publisher of the Review, said the decision to relocate had to do with under-utilized space in the paper’s building.

“It makes perfect sense for both of us,” Beirne said. “Since we ceased printing our newspaper in 2015, we have only utilized about 5,000 square feet, if that much, of the 20,000 square-foot building on Maple Avenue.”

This is only the third time the paper has moved in its 105-year history.



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