In May 2017, the Good News announced that founder and long-time publisher, Grif Blackstone, is moving on from the Good News and Les Feldman, formerly with Playbill for 32 years and an advocate for local charities, has taken on the role of Good News Publisher.
Parting Words of Thanks
I want to say thank you for allowing me to be your publisher for over 18 years. This will be my last issue as the acting publisher of the Good News. When my wife and I started this paper, we never dreamed the journey with Good News would be so amazing.
It has been an honor and privilege to be used by God to start and grow this community newspaper for South Florida. One thing I have learned from the beginning of this newspaper is that God’s plans are not ours. Thank God for that. Never in my life would I have thought that God would use us to do what he has done through the Good News.
We started the newspaper when my oldest son Zach was born. I have seen the Good News grow and mature in its involvement, influence and impact in the community just as my son has grown. Now that my son is finished his second year at FAU, he will soon be off on his own. Similarly, it is time for another to steward the Good News.
I have run a good race with the vision and purpose that God had from the beginning of the Good News: to inform and impact South Florida with what God is doing locally in and through the Church, his people. We wanted there to be something different available in the community than what was out there on the street, something that people could turn to for inspiration and information from a biblical perspective. There was enough of what the world was doing in other free weekly or monthly publications on the street, God needed to have his place too.
I proudly and confidently have handed over the Good News to Les Feldman, probably the only person with the passion and experience that I could trust to take the reigns and grow the Good News. When you meet him, if you don’t already know him, you will see why he is the perfect successing publisher for God’s Good News. I couldn’t have a better hand off for publisher and thank God for that. Oh … don’t worry; Shelly Pond is still the editor. The underlying mission and vision of the Good News will continue to be the same as it always has.
I also want to thank those people in my life who have encouraged us over the years by supporting the mission and vision of the paper: Paradise Service Technologies for being the very first advertisers from the first issue without missing a month; advertisers like Giant Tire and Auto Repair, Joseph E. Altschul, M & S Air Conditioning, Total Comfort Air Conditioning, Trinity Title and Escrow, and Patricia Hartman, who have been in the paper for over 12 years non stop; the hundreds of businesses and churches who have distributed the Good News consistently for the last 18 years, and the community for the feedback and involvement that has made the paper what it has become today.
Keep involved and keep being a community, connect through the Good News and unite to take on issues and change lives in South Florida.
What am I doing now? I am using the experience I’ve developed over the years to help grow an advertising and marketing agency full time. For now, you can still reach me at Grif@goodnewsfl.org. I would love to hear from you.
Changing of the Guard
Hello, I’m Les Feldman. I’m honored to greet you today as new publisher of the Good News.
I have been in publishing for most of my life, first as a teen newspaper carrier in my hometown of Miami Beach, then in escalating apprenticeship and management roles at The Miami News, Miami Beach Sun and The Miami Herald; while still a student at the University of Miami.
At 21, I fed my passion for rock ‘n’ roll as founding publisher of a national rock music magazine, then invested my love of South Florida as publisher of numerous city magazines. Perhaps you’ve enjoyed browsing my most recognizable publishing brand while waiting for the curtain to rise at a Broadway play, symphony, opera or ballet. I served as publisher of PLAYBILL®, the national theater magazine editions, for 32 years. What a blessing.
My best work of life is manifest in three terrific children. My sons, Lee and Lonnie, have pioneered a thriving South Florida confections business and graduated me from dad to grandpa.
My daughter, Ariel, is presently conquering high school en route to anything is possible. Ironically, she is responsible for the miracle of my own rebirth. THIS would not have happened without THAT, so Ariel gets the honorary title, assistant to the publisher, and a major stakeholder in my heart. She shares that sacred place with Him.
When asked by some strong Christian community leaders and behind the scenes investors to consider taking on this responsibility as Grif was looking to transition into other things, I heard His voice whispering, “God has a plan for you,” then posed it as a question. Each time I asked, the answer was self-evident. Yes, it is.
Now, I get to share that conviction with you — not as a personality, because it’s not about me; I’m just a steward for God’s plan. We will continue to endeavor to discern what matters to faithful readers like you. What enlightens you. What lifts and inspires you. What challenges you to do better and be better. And what makes you count days and blessings before the next issue of Good News hopefully excites you again.
Better still, how we can best engage you online through goodnewsfl.org and in our weekly email newsletter between newsstand issues.
Leaving a legacy
While founding publisher Grif Blackstone is moving on, staff and readers, alike, will not soon forget how faithfully he navigated Good News through the ebb and flow of nineteen challenging years. Trust me, that’s no easy task. In this context, “thank you” seems small. In reality, we are all so very grateful.
Shelly Pond will remain as editor, but the title is misleading. Truth is, nobody juggles more tasks and contributes more effort and leadership than Shelly. She’s amazing! We are truly blessed that she will help guide the next iteration of Good News.
Share your thoughts
You will find my email address beneath my signature below. Please feel free to drop me a note with your thoughts, ideas, even criticisms. I will do the best I can and will respond directly whenever possible, and embrace your collective thoughts and ideas to help shape and refine the best possible reader experience.
At 19, we’re still young enough to learn a few new tricks.
Leslie J. Feldman
Good News Media Group, LLC.