By Reggie Ellis
An Exeter man has set out to do what no other has - capture the epic scope of the Central Valley and the reach of its most influential people.
Publisher Richard Latronico of Exeter said “Vox Pop Influentials” magazine debuts this week in 15,000 homes targeted as potential subscribers in Kings and Tulare counties. The magazine's title, Latin for “Voice of the People,” was chosen for its uniqueness and message.
“We wanted to do something that had the look and feel of the growing Central Valley,” Latronico said. “I think the name is something people will remember and the insightful content is something that will be hard to forget.”
Each month the magazine's cover story will feature a Valley native or resident that is an influential person in both national and international society. The first issue features Hollywood actor and director Kevin Costner who attended Mt Whitney High School in Visalia. The second issue in January will feature two-term governor of Nevada Kenny Guinn who attended Exeter Union High School.
“This is about people from the Valley that have gone on and had lives and careers that have been influential on an even broader scale,” Latronico said. “It's like Time Magazine's Man and Woman of the Year, except there is a Man or Woman of the Year each month and they all have a connection to the Valley.”
Vox Pop will also feature secondary features such as Walter Dwelle, managing partner in Nella Oil Co., which owns 52 convenience stations in California and is a distributor for Exxon, Mobil, Chevron and Shell. Latronico said the candid interview looks at a manager's viewpoint on the gas crisis, what caused it and how the industry operates differently from others.
“We want to broaden the horizons of our readers with thought provoking articles about issues important to people in the Valley and beyond,” Latronico said. “This will have the flavor of a national magazine, with pulse of the Valley.”
The magazine's content will be steered by copy chief Ernest Cunningham in Los Angeles, whose connections and experience make many of the interviews possible. Freelance writers will produce local content. Webmaster and graphic designer Eric Cribbs of Visalia
“It is amazing what you can pull of the Web and write off as your own,” Latronico said. “This magazine will have all original articles that will offer a slice of what's happening in and around the Valley.”
Latronico said the magazine is modeled after Lexus' high-end designed quarterly auto publication. The magazine will publish 10 issues each year - once per month January through May, August and October and then one issue for November/December and June/July. Monthly features include Valley scene, entertainment, business and finance and health and wellness, including articles by Kaweah Delta dietician and nutritionist Alana Unger. The first issue for November/December will include a holiday gift guide for the person who has everything.
“It's kind of like your dream gift,” Latronico said. “A Harley-Davidson motorcycle, a getaway to Key Largo or anything people would include as a dream-come-true.”
The magazine is geared toward, but not limited to, households with incomes of $100,000 or more. The first 15,000 homes will receive the magazine for free and will be asked if they want to subscribe following the first issue.
“I want to make sure that everyone getting the magazine is excited about the magazine,” Latronico said. “This will be a very interactive magazine where readers can determine some of the content.”
The website, www.VoxPopInfluentials.com, will hold online polls, reader surveys and an opportunity for readers to make suggestions on interview subjects, hot topics in the Valley or anything else.
“We want to make people think a bit,” Latronico said. “We want to do more than entertain our readers, we want them to discover something new.”
Latronico, 48, has more than 25 years of experience in print and television advertising. He began his career as head of brochures for Toyota motor sales in the early 1980s and went on to work as manager of network television promotions for NBC. In 1990, he moved his own advertising agency, Latronico Communications, to Visalia. Three years later he moved to Exeter where he and his wife of 23 years, Elizabeth, raised their daughter Emily.
“This is a fulfillment of many things over the last 25 years of my career,” Latronico said. “Now I can put them together in one voice.” The Vox Pop.