Since our founding in 1984, The Martha’s Vineyard Times has become the Island’s most widely read newspaper for year-round Islanders, long-term summer residents and Vineyard visitors, with an average circulation of approximately 15,000 copies each week. Last year The Times’ circulation was more than three times greater on-Island, and two times greater overall, than that of the Vineyard Gazette, the community’s other weekly newspaper. The Times is generally acknowledged as the community newspaper for Martha’s Vineyard.
The Times’ indispensability results from our unusual publishing and business model. We provide year-round and seasonal Islanders with free postal customer circulation of our professional, responsible award-winning community newspaper, placing complete news and calendar information in front of everyone on Martha’s Vineyard, every week, with no barriers to readership. At the same time, we believe that a useful and vital community newspaper needs to be successfully immersed in the Vineyard’s business life, for-profit and not-for-profit alike, and our dominant circulation means we deliver for our advertisers, who we value as neighbors and constituents, and not simply as customers.
Companion to the weekly Times, our newspaper website mvtimes.com, has published 100% of our weekly content, in addition to web-only material, without paywalls or subscriptions, since it first went live more than 15 years ago, and has consistently won awards among New England peers. Responsive design means mvtimes.com is very effectively rendered across desktop and mobile platforms. It attracts more than 1 million unique visitors and 3 million sessions annually, roughly equally divided among Islanders and off-Islanders from all over the country and the world.
The Martha’s Vineyard Times also publishes a strategically balanced portfolio of interest-focused products, print and web. Arts + Ideas (mvartsandideas.com) The Guide, The Local (mvtimes.com/the-local) Vineyard Visitor (vineyardvisitor.com), Menu Guides and programs for our two largest Island-wide events — the annual Agricultural Fair and High School Graduation — each provides texture and focus for particular interests among our readers and advertisers.
Throughout our history, The Times has developed and underwrites a number of important community initiatives. We developed The Bargain Box, a free classified service matching Islanders with free or low-cost goods and services more than 25 years ago. We publish the High School View, a weekly student newspaper in our pages (making it one of a handful of high school publications in the U.S. that are circulated to the entire community). We publish the monthly newsletter of the Island’s Councils on Aging as well as lengthy town warrants and ballots at no cost to the public. We have been the exclusive local sponsor and underwriter of each year’s Scripps Howard national spelling bee for more than 25 years. We also sponsor or serve as media partners for events carefully selected for their broad Island benefit (the annual Living Local Festival, the newly launched Makers Faire, and The Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival and the Martha’s Vineyard International Film Festival are examples).
Perhaps most ambitiously we organize Islanders Write (islanderswrite.com), attracting several hundred attendees for a completely free day-long series of panels, roundtables, workshops and exhibitions celebrating writers, publishers, readers and teachers with deep ties to the Island, from all over the country.
All of our print and web products are published by Martha’s Vineyard Times Corporation Inc., which is owned by Peter and Barbara Oberfest. Visitors since the early 1970’s, they moved here year-round in 1993 with their three-year old son. The Oberfests became partners in The Times with Doug and Molly Cabral in 1996 and became sole owners in 2014.