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Pete Humes, the man who gave Brick Weekly its name, personality and editorial voice, has been removed from his post by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, along with the publication's founding art director.
"It did not meet expectations," T-D spokeswoman Frazier Millner says of Brick, "and this is obviously a business decision."
Humes, Brick's editor, previously had been at the helm of Punchline, a dearly departed independent weekly, until it closed shop in January 2003. He then took up with the Times-Dispatch's Flair section, which he left last year to start Brick.
Humes and Chris Schup, the paper's art director, "have been offered other jobs within the company," Millner says. She did not say whether they had accepted those positions, and neither one responded directly to an e-mail from Style Weekly.
The lithe, lighthearted paper, with a circulation of 10,000, was the T-D's attempt at a free alternative weekly. It launched in August 2006.
At the time, the paper's start-up exec, Doug Forshey, said in a T-D article that Media General, which owns the Times-Dispatch, had launched Brick "to go after nonconsumers of its regular products."
It would appeal to people who experienced the "urban life," Forshey was quoted as saying. "It's not targeted as a youth publication. It's more of a lifestyle and attitude publication."
Now it's time to broaden the weekly's appeal, Millner says: "The publication is transitioning."
Brick will come under new management at the T-D. It will be designed by the same team that produces the newspaper's advertorials. "The paper will morph into something that is more of a life-stage, lifestyle publication," Millner says, declining to elaborate. "I think it's a stay-tuned-and-see.
"We think there is room to grow," she says. "We think there is broader market appeal for that particular kind of publication."
Brick's freelancers learned of the news in an e-mail from Humes last week, which suggested the parting of ways was less than amicable. Freelancers were told it would be understandable if they did not want to participate in the new publication. SClick here for more News and Features