This year marks a major milestone for BE THERE Magazine—45 years in the business, conducting thousands of interviews with top business owners, night club owners, Congressional Black Caucus members, articles and advertisements of wine, tourism, real estate, technology, health care, law, finance, and more to bring readers the stories behind the news. In celebration of the magazine’s anniversary, here’s a look back at how it has evolved over the years from Russell’s News to BE THERE Magazine.
The first edition of Russell’s News launched in January 1976 by a young man —Russell Price—who had a vision to give people information who were hanging out dancing and going to clubs. He wanted to produce a new magazine aimed at business people and Hand Dancers. The mission was to take a feature-oriented look at the business environment in the DMV. As written in the debut issue, “Sonoma Business is conceived as a practical tool for the local business person or for the person looking to get into a local business. It’s no-nonsense, dollars and facts-oriented and at the same time, highly readable.”
The first issue featured an interview with the restaurant owner from Pier 7 in downtown DC. It also included profiles of local business people.
Russell‘s news was the only magazine and I distributed it inside restaurants and nightclubs in the DMV. Club owners allowed me to personally hand the magazine out two people in the club.
Like many new publications, the magazine had a rocky start going through ups and downs in the first year. People used to refuse to take the magazine, or they would leave it on the table with drinks on top of it and never read it, but I stayed the course.
The magazine went through two editors in the first year before recruiting Guion Kovner, who stepped into the position and stayed there for eight years. It went from Russell’s News to the City Guide Magazine, to the Washington Business Guide and finally became BE THERE Magazine. It was the first black magazine to go online 15 years ago, which is still being published and is still going strong today.
We were the first four-glossy magazine to put former President Barack Obama on the front cover.
What is BE THERE Magazine?
BE THERE Magazine is DMV’s leading monthly publication devoted to Where To Go, What To Do, Who To Call and How To Get There. It publishes concise, well-written articles based on original research, presenting news worthy, historical discoveries and fresh interpretations.
The Magazine is both an enduring work of reference and a running commentary on the events in the business world of today, as well as editorials on topical issues. It features authoritative reviews of all important books and major exhibitions, and BE THERE Magazine online is the best available guide to events throughout the DMV.
The Magazine's advertising pages present a view of some of the finest restaurants and nightclubs, together with announcements of exhibitions, Congressional Black Caucus coverage and the latest art books. There can also be notices of financial institutions and luxury goods on offer found in BE THERE Magazine.
The BE THERE Magazine is required reading for everyone in the DMV. It is distinctive in tone, clear in voice and commands the highest respect and affection from businesses and readers alike.