Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Horton Beirne, third-generation publisher of family-owned weekly in Covington, Va., dies at 67

Beirne's wife, Mary Ann, is the new publisher.
(File photo from The Virginian Review)
Funeral services will be held Thursday for Horton Beirne, longtime editor and publisher of The Virginian Review in Covington, who died Saturday after a long battle with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He was 67, and represented the fourth generation in his family to work at the 7,800-circulation weekly newspaper and the third generation to run it.

“Horton Beirne epitomized the very best in community journalism, John Edwards, a longtime friend and editor-publisher of The Smithfield Times, told the Virginia Press Association. “He loved a good story, and could be a fierce editorialist, but his news coverage and his opinions were always tempered by his concern for what was best for his beloved Covington and Alleghany County.”

Beirne left the staff of the Richmond Times-Dispatch in 1972 to become production manager of the Covington Virginian, founded in 1914 by his grandfather, Richard Beirne Jr. In 1974, he was named editor, and in 1989 the paper merged with the Clifton Forge Daily Review and was renamed. He became publisher in 1992 after the death of his father, Richard Beirne III. He won many VPA awards and was president of the association in 1987-88, the fourth member of his family to hold the post.

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