Confusion after Harrisburg magazine isn't displayed at Midtown Scholar

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Jun 26, 2014 9:00 AM

(Harrisburg) -- A magazine based in Harrisburg has been shut out of a popular bookstore in the city, and its editor in chief says he's confused about what actually happened.

Daniel Webster says the latest issue of Local, which features an interview with former Mayor Steven Reed as part of the focus on the Capital City, isn't getting sold at the Midtown Scholar bookstore.

Last week, Mayor Eric Papenfuse, who co-owns the store, met with Webster to express concerns about some of the content, but Catherine Lawrence, the other co-owner, says the periodical policy has changed at the store.

"There's inconsistencies in stories between the Midtown Scholar staff and Eric. And there was a lot of hiding as well, of not being open and communicative with us regarding Issue 4," says Webster.

Webster says he understands if Midtown decided against carrying all periodicals, but questions why Mayor Papenfuse would meet with him to dispute some descriptions in the interview with the former mayor.

Lawrence says despite the meeting, she's the one in charge of all bookstore policies, not Papenfuse, and notes he was voicing his opinion on the article as the mayor, not a bookstore owner. She says earlier this year, the store changed its paid periodical policy for a variety of reasons. And of note, Lawrence says she has a standing offer to meet with Webster and try to come up with a solution that resolves the issue, but he has not accepted. Webster, for his part, maintains the Mayor got involved, and turned this into censorship.

"It's less about the financial and the business end of things, and it's more about the Midtown Scholar and what it purports to represent, which is a place of community dialogue," adds Webster. Local averages sales of about 5 copies of each issue at the Midtown Scholar, and a handful of Issue 4 were actually sold to staff.

Published in Harrisburg, News

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