From the Editor

Drescher: New N&O magazine Walter honors man who gave capital its name

August 25, 2012 

Swashbuckling Sir Walter Raleigh never made it to the city that bears his name. He was beheaded in 1618, about 175 years before the capital of North Carolina was established and named after the adventurer, artist, author, poet and ladies man.

Raleigh, sponsor of the first English colony in America, was a favorite of Queen Elizabeth I, who knighted him. But her successor, James I, was not so fond of the independent-minded Raleigh, which led to the sir’s separation from his head.

Our founders honored him by naming a lovely, leafy city after him. Now another honor for the old charmer: A spectacular new city magazine launches next week, produced by The News and Observer Publishing Co. It shall be named Walter.

Liza Roberts, editor and general manager of Walter, says it will “capture Raleigh’s life and soul, tell its best stories, profile its most compelling people, and depict all of it beautifully, with captivating photography, illustrations and design.”

The first Walter delivers on that promise. Roberts herself has written a fine – and timely – profile on cover guy Webb Simpson, the U.S. Open golf champion who grew up in Raleigh.

The inaugural magazine includes pieces by novelist Jill McCorkle; plant explorer Tony Avent; bibliophile Nancy Olson; Larry Wheeler, director of the N.C. Museum of Art; and Mary E. Miller, former columnist for The N&O.

The photography is brilliant, the design elegant.

The vision comes from Roberts, 43, who lives in West Raleigh with her husband and three children. She was a reporter in London and Washington before moving here seven years ago.

Roberts wants Walter to reflect this vibrant, changing city and its culture. The magazine will report on art, food, music, homes, gardens. And the people who make Raleigh what it is.

“I’m approaching this like a reporter,” she told me this week. “I want to make sure I’m reaching out to make sure we’re bringing the best of the area to light.”

Walter will publish 10 times a year. You can find the first issue at Quail Ridge Books and in many shops and waiting rooms. Annual subscriptions are $24.99 at You can reach Roberts at

This is an evolutionary time for media but an era rich with opportunity. We want to find new ways to deliver quality journalism.

Walter is the latest addition to our portfolio. A year ago we purchased the Clayton News-Star, adding it to our stable of nine (now 10) excellent community newspapers. Soon we will launch a new digital edition of The N&O. The demand for news and information rises every year as this region thrives and technology provides new storytelling options.

Walter sates a thirst for a magazine about this flourishing city. Sir Walter Raleigh, a cultivated man with a zeal for life, would be proud of it.

Fall arts preview Sunday

Arts lovers won’t want to miss our annual fall arts preview in Sunday’s Arts & Living section of The N&O.

The section contains comprehensive listings of festivals, music, theater, exhibits and dance. The preview includes a searchable database at

Triangle arts leaders and our own experts highlight their favorite events. And The N&O’s David Menconi reports on what is one of the most ambitious programs around – Carolina Performing Arts’ “The Rite of Spring at 100.” It marks the centennial of Igor Stravinsky’s piece of the same name and crosses into a variety of genres.

Drescher: 919-829-4515 or; On Twitter: @john_drescher

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