With faith and hard work, Deone McWilliams fosters good news

Teri Saylor

Special to Publishers' Auxiliary

Mar 1, 2022


Seven is a pivotal number for Deone McWilliams, owner and publisher of Northside Vibes by Flavor News in Richmond.

McWilliams was 7 years old when her second-grade teacher recognized she was special and laid the foundation for her to grow as a successful journalist and a businesswoman. Her grandson, NyRiian Jiggetts was 7 when he was frightened by the bad news on TV and convinced McWilliams to start a “good-news” newspaper. Sadly, McWilliams experienced seven deaths in her family in 2014. And today, Northside Vibes by Flavor News is 7 years old.

McWilliams, now an NNA Foundation director, recalls responding to her grandson’s request for good news by starting the Flavor News.

“I wrote our first newspaper, but it didn’t last long, due to my having to work in corporate America and also competition from other media, but I knew I had made a promise to this little boy, and I was going to keep it,” McWilliams says. “After experiencing seven family deaths in one year, and the death of my son in 2017, I told God I was ready to take the walk of faith and that I would not stop, no matter what.”

The March 2022 issue of the Northside Vibes marks the newspaper’s 90th issue. McWilliams’ grandson, now 18, is a sailor in the U.S. Navy, and McWilliams has expanded her business to include a talk show. The newspaper’s print circulation is 800 in the Richmond area and reaches over 500,000 online readers worldwide.

The newspaper is mostly a one-woman operation, and McWilliams views its mission to spread good news, both locally and across the globe.

What are your biggest challenges?

I’ve learned that the name of my newspaper (Northside) has been a hindrance when it comes to obtaining advertising clients, and I’m planning to change it next year. I’m working on hiring commission-based sales associates, which should help in generating more revenue. The pandemic has played a vital role in finding reliable people with passion. I’ve experienced a few people using my newspaper to attempt to obtain press passes, and I’ve also experienced a few people calling city officials pretending to be a part of my team just to get favors, etc.

Your greatest rewards?

I love to get smiles from people who express their appreciation for The GOOD NEWSpaper. My best experiences include featuring a man who was celebrating his 100th birthday, and Northside Vibes was his first media exposure in his life. He passed away two months later, but I will never forget the smile on his face and hug of gratitude when I presented him with a copy. The other was receiving a phone call from a young man who was thinking about committing suicide but changed his mind after picking up my newspaper, which was left on the bench at a bus stop. Additionally, God has blessed me with a supportive family and many mentors.

What are your top goals for the coming year?

My main goal is to incorporate THE GOOD TALK (show) while continuing to publish my newspaper — and the project is coming along wonderfully. In the late ‘90s I produced my own live talk show, DTS (Deone’s Talk Show), and had the opportunity to meet and be mentored by the late Mary Wilson, a former member of The Supremes.

What advice would you give to other women who want to buy or start a newspaper?

Just do it. You don’t need a lot of money. I had $22 to my name after leaving corporate America and losing everything. All you need is faith, passion, determination, self-motivation and time management. Make sure you have an administrative day for down time and time to pamper and celebrate yourself. Also surround yourself with positive-thinking people.

Describe your desk.

I must have order in my studio, home, car, etc., from the décor to the supplies.

What is one thing about you that people in your community might be surprised to know?

I’m a nerd in disguise.

How do you keep a healthy work/life balance?

I know this newspaper is God’s assignment, which is 100% fulfilling. I love what I do and plan to do it for the rest of my life. I pray each day thanking God for another opportunity to carry out his good news assignment. I eat healthy, exercise daily, pamper myself and I allow my creativity to flow, understanding there are no limits and all things are possible.


Deone McWilliams, 1108 E. Main Street, Suite 803, Richmond, VA 23219; www.northsidevibes.org

McWilliams can be reached by calling (804) 977-2259 or emailing flavornews@gmail.com.