The first edition of the Valley Advocate was published on Sept. 19, 1973, with a cover story titled, “Prophet & Profit — ‘Spirit’ Dies,” about a large hippie commune in Leyden called “The Brotherhood of the Spirit,” which became defunct when more than half of them quit. So it’s no wonder why 40-year Advocate journalist Stephanie Kraft says that during the alternative weekly’s early years “a lot of people saw us as this little hippie rag.” “When I started work at the Advocate in 1974, just a year after its founding, I became part of a motley crew with a passionate interest in news and arts and very little training in journalism,” Kraft wrote in a 2008 editorial titled “A New Voice in the Valley,” about her early experiences with the Advocate. She wrote then that the staff included two reporters: Preston Gralla, who covered the Amherst-Northampton beat and Eric Benjamin who worked in the Advocate’s Springfield office writing music stories when he wasn’t writing investigative exposes about the Springfield Police Department. Geoffrey Robinson and Ed Matys. The Valley Advocate was founded by two former Hartford Courant reporters — Ed Matys and Geoffrey Robinson, who pooled $1,500 a piece, to… Read full this story
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