The Martha's Vineyard Times

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The Martha's Vineyard Times
Type Weekly newspaper
Format Tabloid
Owner(s) Barbara and Peter Oberfest
Founder(s) Al Brickman
Robert Carroll
Fred Ferro
Allen Jones
Edward Redstone
Founded 1984
Language English
Headquarters 30 Beach Rd, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568
 United States
ISSN 8750-1449

The Martha’s Vineyard Times is an independently owned weekly community newspaper, published by The MV Times Corp. on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, seven miles off the coast of Southeastern Massachusetts. The newspaper has an average circulation of 15,000, is distributed free of charge to all Island postal customers, and is available for sale at retail locations around the Island. The MV Times’ circulation model puts the full range of community news in front of every Vineyarder each week, with no barrier to readership, and postal delivery, selective drop and ferry distribution, plus retail sales, reach the Island’s 100,000 seasonal visitors as well.

The Times’s website,, has published 100 percent of its weekly content, in addition to web-only material, without paywalls or subscriptions since it first went live in 2001. The site attracts more than 1.25 million unique visitors and 3 million sessions each year, roughly equally divided among islanders and off-islanders.[1]

The Martha’s Vineyard Times also publishes several interest-focused print and digital products: Arts & Ideas magazine (, The Guide, The Local (, Vineyard Visitor (, Menu Guides, and programs for our two largest Island-wide events — the annual Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Fair and high school graduation.[2] The Martha’s Vineyard Times and its staff,, and Times special publications have all won multiple awards — including Newspaper of the Year — from the New England Newspaper & Press Association.


The Martha’s Vineyard Times was founded in the spring of 1984 in the midst of great population growth (45 percent between 1970 and 1980, 30 percent between 1980 and 1990, and another 30 percent between 1990 and 2000[3]) and social and economic change in the Vineyard community personal per capita income increased more than sixfold in the same period.[4][5]

These statistical measures of change reflected an ongoing, decisive shift away from the Vineyard’s rural way of life to one increasingly dominated by tourism and second-home ownership, with concomitant changes in jobs and social status among Islanders, as well as in the range and sophistication of business, civic, cultural, and recreational activities characterizing life on Martha’s Vineyard.

Despite (or perhaps owing to) the relative prosperity and worldliness accompanying the Vineyard’s increasing desirability as a destination, and its diversifying population, the changes and pressures on the Vineyard’s isolated and insulated community weren’t always welcomed or appreciated by longtime year-round and seasonal Islanders, even as their quality-of-life options expanded and the value of their real estate soared.[6]

Amid this changing community dynamic, The Martha’s Vineyard Times was founded by five Islanders in 1984. Quoted in The Times’ obituary for Robert “Bob” Carroll, one of the five, retired Times editor Doug Cabral said, “They believed that the Vineyard needed a newspaper that would take an aggressive interest in the year-round residents and the year-round economy of the Vineyard, both of which they thought were under-represented,”[7] and so took direct aim at the editorial convictions of the venerable and much admired weekly Vineyard Gazette, which was deeply committed to conservation and preservation of the Vineyard’s bucolic past.[8]

The challenges of publishing a comprehensive and responsible community newspaper in a competitive market proved daunting to the founders, and in 1991 they sold The Martha’s Vineyard Times to their editor Doug Cabral and his wife Molly.[9]

Sometimes abrasive and unpopular as it balanced conflicting pressures amid the inevitability of community change, The Times also represented unanticipated disruption within the previously closed media ecosystem of Martha’s Vineyard, and early days were challenging. A critical strategic decision saw the conversion of The Times from a paid circulation broadsheet, like the Vineyard Gazette, to a free, mailed, tabloid-size newspaper.

The new competition was met with consternation and disdain from the Gazette’s leadership,[10][11] but the strategy proved successful. In combination with comprehensive community readership and a broad editorial constituency, the business advantages of total market circulation and advertiser reach provided the financial support necessary to sustain a viable model for community journalism.

The Martha’s Vineyard Times continues to focus rigorously on the broad needs of year-round and seasonal Islanders, incorporating comprehensive attention to local activities and governance, arts and culture, business, and the clamorous change of seasons. The Times maintains an activist approach to community responsibility, sponsoring the Island’s Scripps Howard Spelling Bee, publishing both the regional high school’s newspaper and the Island-wide Councils on Aging’s monthly newsletter within regular weekly issues of the newspaper, sponsoring Islanders Write (a major, daylong writer’s event), and beginning a free classified-ad section for low-cost goods and services more than 25 years ago.[12]

Staff and Organization[edit]

The Martha’s Vineyard Times employs approximately 20 full-time staff year-round, along with a number of freelance and part-time staff. Responsibility for all editorial products lies with Jamie Stringfellow, executive editor. All print and web products are published by Martha’s Vineyard Times Corp., which is owned by Peter and Barbara Oberfest, who serve as publishers. The Oberfests became partners in The Times with Doug and Molly Cabral in 1995 and became sole owners in May 2014.[13]


  1. ^ "The Martha's Vineyard Times Media Kit". Retrieved 2017-02-23. 
  2. ^ "The Martha's Vineyard Times Media Kit". Retrieved 2017-02-23. 
  3. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". Retrieved September 16, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Per Capita Personal Income in Dukes County, MA". 2016-04-07. 
  5. ^ United States Census Bureau. "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). Retrieved September 16, 2014. 
  6. ^ Mazer, Milton (1976). People and Predicaments. Boston: Harvard University Press. pp. 38–40. ISBN 9780674429734. 
  7. ^ Sigelman, Nelson (2015-03-31). "Robert "Bob" Carroll dies at 90". Martha's Vineyard Times. Retrieved 2017-02-23. 
  8. ^ Steinberg, Jacques (2003-05-05). "MEDIA; Editorial Crusader Takes Leave of the Vineyard". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-02-23. 
  9. ^ Times, The Martha's Vineyard (2014-03-27). "Longtime MV Times editor retires". Martha's Vineyard Times. Retrieved 2017-02-23. 
  10. ^ Steinberg, Jacques (2003-05-05). "MEDIA; Editorial Crusader Takes Leave of the Vineyard". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-02-23. 
  11. ^ "Taxing relationships - The Boston Globe". Retrieved 2017-02-23. 
  12. ^ "About Us - Martha's Vineyard Times". Martha's Vineyard Times. Retrieved 2017-02-23. 
  13. ^ Times, The Martha's Vineyard (2014-03-27). "Longtime MV Times editor retires". Martha's Vineyard Times. Retrieved 2017-02-23. 

External links[edit]