Publisher Marynell Strunk of the Pocono Business Journal announced that the award-winning East Stroudsburg-based business publication will cease publication as of the February 2010 issue. The paper will end print operations on February 5. The paper's web site, www.pbjonline.com, will remain posted for several months so that readers can view past issues.
Strunk founded the PBJ in April 2005, and published the first edition that November. At the time, she noted, "Monroe County was undergoing an economic boom," and she thought, "wouldn't it be neat if we had a business journal?"
But what a difference four years have made. The economy grew through 2007, collapsed in 2008, and remained on life support through 2009. Strunk cited the current economic climate and the shrinking print industry as the reasons for the paper's demise.
"Coming to this decision has been difficult. It has been a wonderful opportunity to meet and work with the regional business community. I have to thank the advertisers who believed in and supported the publication over the years," said Strunk.
The Pocono Business Journal is a monthly newspaper written for people who own, manage, and administer business and industry in the four-county Pocono region of Carbon, Monroe, Pike and Wayne. The Pocono Business Journal is owned by Twin Willow Publishing Company and has a reported circulation of is 10,000.
Publisher Strunk moved to Monroe County from Easton in 1989 when her husband, David B. Strunk, formed Strunk-Albert Engineering in Stroudsburg, Marynell, formerly a business major at Cedar Crest College in Allentown, settled in as a homemaker, using her spare time to write freelance magazine articles, typically on business themes. Being a stay-at-home mom also affected her writing, inspiring her to write Discover the Poconos with Kids, published in 1998.
By the time her youngest child was attending school full time, Marynell was finding her freelance writing was not fulfilling. She started researching the idea of creating a business journal and began interviewing business people in the area, asking them if it would be something they would support, would find interesting, and asking "do you think the area would support this?" After a year of research, she decided they would.
"To secure advertisers, you have to be able to show them what you will be able to do and what you plan is," she explained. "I put together a prototype of the newspaper inserting sample advertisements, articles, and photos. I planned on doing it full color-I thought that was important."
She liked the idea of a monthly publication. "It is almost a luxury in journalism to produce a monthly because you have time to react to certain stories that are out there and decide what angle you want to take."
Strunk planned her editions a year in advance. Each issue had a theme. In a given year, she covered topics from Environment & Green Business to Sales and Consumer Relations. The Journal's August Annual Pocono Economic Forecast was the most popular edition.
The PBJ's coverage on the July 4, 2005 flooding of the Delaware River helped to establish the publication. "Businesses were wiped out," she said, "Some for the third time in two years. Some rebuilt and some are struggling. It just happened as we were putting the issue together."
Strunk was enthusiastic for financial growth in the Poconos as an alternative to New York City in the post 9/11 era. Although Strunk championed growth, she was not reluctant to use her bully pulpit to put forward her concept of "Sustainable is Attainable"-where each month one of the four managers with the Conservation Districts in Carbon, Monroe, Pike and Wayne Counties, had an opportunity to reach the Journal's audience.
On a table, near her desk, sat a 1920 vintage Underwood typewriter. "I typed on that as a kid," she said in an earlier interview. "It used to be my father's."
When she was in third grade, she used it to create her first news article-an expose of children taking a shortcut through her backyard. "It didn't get published," she noted. "I was going to make copies and hand it out to the neighborhood, but I was too shy."