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Punchline Suspends Publication

During the years, it doubled its frequency, increased its page count and added local content. Its most recent issue was 36 pages.

"Punchline has been able to provide a tremendous service to the city," Skrobiszewski says. "We were able to help get a lot of attention to local artists and businesses with our voice, our bend. It's an alternative read."

Skrobiszewski says the free paper targeted the 20- to 35-year-old demographic and had 30,000 readers. She credits its popularity to the dedication of the staff of 13. "It's in our blood," she says.

Last year executives of Pilot Media Companies, the owner of Style Weekly, met with Skrobiszewski and Editor-in-Chief Pete Humes to explore a potential purchase. An offer never materialized and Punchline publicly rebuffed the advances in the spirit of remaining an independent media voice.

Skrobiszewski says she now might consider selling to a corporation. But first she is working to drum up investors who could revive the business and help put Punchline back on the stands. If that happens, readers could expect subtle changes. "I'd like to make it more sophisticated and do it more maturely," she says.

But priority one is finding money. Local radio host, artist and musician Chris Bopst has offered to host a fund-raising event.

"It's a good product and there's a need in Richmond for it," Skrobiszewski says. "I want to do it again." — Jason

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