Upon arriving in Roanoke, we filed out of the vans and into a small, homey conference room at Leisure Publishing. We were immediately welcomed by Kurt Rheinheimer, the editor in chief of a number of publications including Blue Ridge Country and The Roanoker.
Rheinheimer began his presentation by giving a brief history of the company, noting that Richard Wells, the owner and founder, is still daily involved at Leisure Publishing. The two major magazines, Blue Ridge Country and The Roanoker, are quite different and Rheinheimer shared with us some valuable information about each one.
Blue Ridge Country celebrates the states and regions of the south, namely the Appalachain regions of the eastern United States. Rheinheimer emphasized the term “celebrate,” noting that the magazine focuses on the positive and highly acclaimed details of the region. Through employing a number of mostly freelance writers, the magazine is made up of mostly travel articles that attract an older readership.
Contrarily, The Roanoker focuses on the city life in Roanoke, Virginia. This magazine is more upscale, with features on homes, travel, and lifestyle. This publication fits the mold of other city magazines around the country. Issues of the magazine have different focuses throughout the year. The most popular are “Top Docs,” “Best Of…,” and “Dining Awards.” Multiple spinoffs of the magazine have entered the spotlight, including The Menu and Bride Book which are both successful due to their narrow focus.
Rheinheimer stressed that for both magazines, there was “a commitment to fine paper.” Focus on such small details enhances the quality of the magazine and attracts readers. He also gave us the inside scoop on magazine terms, such as decks, sidebars, and pull-quotes.
We also got to read an article sent in by a freelancer, Fred Sauceman, who writes about food in Blue Ridge Country. Our mouths watered as we studied “Pintos and Persistence” and were able to see what an editor looks for in an article. Rheinheimer showed us the finished product in the magazine, finished off with glossy pictures of the restaurant’s southern delicacies.
It was truly a treat to hear what Mr. Rheinheimer had to say about magazines. He gave us the perfect overview of the business and, more specifically, how an editor organizes a writer’s story and adds pictures—creating a magazine is truly an art form. After visiting Leisure Publishing, we are ready to take on the challenge of creating our own.
— Barbara Bent