White Noise

by Jordan Green

99 Blocks ceases publication Almost five years ago, former Greensboro News & Record editor Bill Hancock peeled off from the mothership and began a monthly publication focused squarely on the districts that compose downtown, an area of 99 blocks — hence the name of the publication. It was a small operation compared to that of his former employer, but Hancock and his crew covered the business and cultural aspects of downtown Greensboro comprehensively, regularly scoring scoops and exclusives. In 2010, after being battered by the economic vagaries of both the newspaper business and the district during the long recession and recovery, Hancock scaled back to a one-man operation, dropping the print publication and concentrating on the website. I saw Bill prowling the street, notebook tucked under his arm, nearly every time I went downtown, and I often voiced my admiration for his efforts. But last week, after crunching the numbers, Hancock decided to cease operations for 99 Blocks. “After taking a hard look at our financials,” he wrote in his final post last Wednesday, “we don’t see the magazine’s revenues increasing enough in the next two years to sustain the business. So, it’s time to say goodbye.” To Bill we say congratulations on a good run. His publication earned a place in the history of local media and the Greensboro downtown district, and it will be missed.