Photo: Marblehead Current Board President Virginia Buckingham speaks to the team at a recent retreat. She held a brick as she talked about building on foundations in the community.  COURTESY PHOTO

Tell us about the Marblehead Current and how it got started. The idea for launching the Current was borne out of the financial decision by Gannett Co., the media giant which owns the Marblehead Reporter, to strip our beloved local paper of almost all  its local content and staff, turning it into a shell of itself. Former Marblehead Reporter journalists and editors got together and decided they wanted to fill that void. Other community leaders got involved and the Current was launched online in June of 2022, right before the town elections. We’re coming up on our first anniversary!

Who are the people involved with The Marblehead Current? We have folks with deep experience in journalism and in covering Marblehead specifically. Kris Olson was the editor of the Marblehead Reporter for 14 years and serves as the Contributing Editor. Will Dowd, our Community Editor, started his journalism career at the Reporter and was the Editor of the Cambridge Chronicle. He’s a fixture at important Marblehead events. Leigh Blander, the Associate Editor and Senior Reporter, has significant experience in TV, radio, and print. Joe McConnell, on the sports beat, has been covering local sports for 25 years and has won many awards. We have numerous contributors and volunteers, too, many well-known to Marbleheaders. Our other founders and co-chairs are Ed Bell who retired as New England bureau chief of the Associated Press after a 50-year career in print and broadcast journalism and Jessica Barnett, who is on the faculty in the Communications Department at Salem State University. My background is primarily in state government, where I had a keen appreciation of the importance of the media in shining a spotlight on issues while working by the sides of two governors. I also was Deputy Editorial Page Editor of the Boston Herald and I couldn’t be happier to be back in the mix of a newspaper’s mission. There are so many more folks involved, I can’t name them all. The energy and enthusiasm has been off the charts. What brings us together is that we believe local news is such a critical part of what makes a community. 

Why was a non-profit business model chosen for the paper? In the past several years more than 2500 newspapers have closed in the United States. Their closure was driven by a for-profit model that is no longer sustainable. We want the Current to be around for the long haul. We believe the local control, with no profit incentive, will allow us to focus on delivering great journalism or as Ed Bell likes to say, to be “the best damn news source we can.”

What sets you apart from other newspapers in Marblehead? We are the only print newsroom located in Marblehead. We think the quality of the journalism speaks for itself. We were so proud to bring the Town Meeting Guide to voters and to partner with the League of Women Voters and MHTV to make sure people were fully informed. Now we are presenting a Guide to the Election ( with the same partners. In addition, we don’t have a parent news company driving our decisions. All our decisions are made with the principle that we are performing a public service, not trying to turn a profit. And because we’re non-profit, all our financial resources are invested right back into the newsroom and our mission of delivering trusted news. 

As the Marblehead Current’s President, what would you like to achieve with the paper over the next year? The whole team – the newsroom journalists and editors, the board and all our volunteers just met for our first retreat to talk about just that! We have so many exciting plans to expand our news and event coverage, and share it everywhere our readers are – in print, online and on social media. We just launched an out-of-town subscription service so we can broaden our reach and make sure Marbleheaders, or simply those who love our town, wherever they are, can stay close to what’s happening in the community. We’re so happy to be the presenting media sponsor of the Festival of Arts and in the coming year we want to broaden our role as a convener of events focused on news-related programming and issues of town interest. To do all that though, we have to significantly increase our donor base. Our funding comes from individuals through donations, as well as from advertising. Nonprofit newsrooms like ours are picking up steam all over the nation, allowing communities access to free, independent news from experienced journalists. But the model doesn’t work without your support. 

Since it’s our first birthday, we are launching a fundraising campaign this month to celebrate the anniversary of our first story.  We’re so grateful to our generous advertisers and donors who made our first, landmark year possible.

Now is the time to fund Year Two with a tax-deductible donation to the Current. For a limited time our Board of Directors will match any first-time donation of $20 or more with an additional $10, up to $2000 total. Visit to pledge your support. 

We like to say two newspapers (The Messenger and The Reporter) covered Marblehead for the last 150 years and now we want to provide the best local journalism has to offer for the next 150! We can only do that with your help

For More Information:
Marblehead Current
President, Virginia Buckingham
[email protected]


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