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Death By CultureThe Last Newsstand
POSTED BY VINNIE BLESI, January 14, 2011    Share

As reported by the Tampa Tribune, longtime North Tampa fixture Hometown News newsstand is closing its doors. As someone who worked in the magazine industry locally for 23 years and has had personal dealings with owner Frank Russo, it is a sad day for any old school media fan as myself. There is still nothing that compares to holding a new pristine magazine or comic, smelling the fresh ink, and appreciating all the effort that went into the design, layout and editorial content.

I am grateful that I was allowed to experience that, as the youth of today only know the new media. Blogs will never recreate the experience I had reading "Famous Monsters" or experiencing the wonderful Mike Ploog pencil artwork on "Planet of the Apes" B&W magazine that so influenced me.

Frank Russo was a pioneer in getting out of town newspapers to send him copies, which he personally picked up at the airport in early morning hours.

Hometown News also stocked foreign magazines, long before Borders was ever envisioned. Russo was passionate about his business, and sought out magazines not offered by the local magazine wholesaler by pursuing alternative distribution methods.

Recently we have seen the closing of Hometown News and Vinyl Fever in Tampa. I nostalgically say goodbye to the old media. Personally I haven't bought a magazine in over a year, and my musical purchases are predominately downloads. New media rules, it seems.

But there will never be a substitute for that old ink on paper. The smell and texture of the printed press. And in a post apocalyptic world maybe all that survives are these tomes of paper and ink provided you don't break your reading glasses.

"Death By Culture" is ©2011 by Vinnie Blesi. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2011 by Nolan B. Canova.

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