Barry Fain Inducted into RI Journalism Hall of Fame

Publisher, founder, writer recognized for continuing work and journalism advocacy


In a ceremony on May 10, Barry Fain will join an esteemed group of local journalism luminaries when he is inducted into the Rhode Island Journalism Hall of Fame. The award is scheduled as part of the annual Rhode Island Press Association (RIPA) banquet, held this year at the Quonset O Club in North Kingstown. The Hall of Fame was established in 1985 by RIPA to honor journalists who have been influential in their profession. Members are chosen by a committee of the press association and approved by the board. Copies of the plaques awarded to inductees are displayed in the lobby of the Chafee building on the University of Rhode Island campus in Kingston.

“I was surprised he wasn’t already there,” says nominator Elyse Major, editor in chief and outgoing RIPA co-president. “Barry’s wife Elaine was a terrific help, gathering news clippings and accolades for me to submit.” At the board meeting on February 1, Fain was selected and Major was notified.

Fain has championed local journalism for nearly half a century. On October 7, 1976, he co-founded a weekly newspaper for the East Side, putting his keen journalistic instincts and dry wit to good use, chronicling the city’s challenges and gradual revitalization. The paper has always been free, and early editions showed a tongue-in-cheek style with columns like “Pothole of the Week.” The first newsroom was located above Tortilla Flats and the small staff all had day jobs. That tiny newspaper grew to become the iconic East Side Monthly, delivered to every address in 02906. In 2021, the magazine absorbed into its glossy sister publication, Providence Monthly.

Fain grew up in an entrepreneurial Jewish family in Providence. His father co-founded Fain’s Fine Carpet in 1927, a pillar of Main Street retail, of which the self-described
“hippie” would eventually become president. He also heard the siren song of Madison Avenue, and headed to New York City to pursue a career in advertising.

Fain has always shown deep interest in the politics, business developments, and social evolution of Providence. Alongside Richard Fleischer and John Howell (2009 Hall of Fame inductee), Fain is co-owner of Hey Rhody Media Co., née Providence Media, publisher of four monthly magazines. One of Fain’s greatest gifts to the city is Neighborhood News, a free forum for local neighborhood associations.

“Barry’s commitment to the people of Providence, his trust in his partners, his quick wit and good sense of humor – it’s all part of the glue that has held the company together, formed over four decades ago on a handshake,” says Fleischer.

Despite his even-handed reporting, Fain is no spectator. He was once a candidate for the General Assembly and has served on boards for the United Way, Moses Brown School, World Affairs Council, WaterFire Arts Center, and College Hill Neighborhood Association, among others, and served as president of the Rotary Club of Providence. Fain lives with his beloved wife Elaine in a restored plaque house on the East Side. The couple have two grown married children, and grandchildren.

“What comes to mind about Barry is his recognition that good journalism depends on strong and trusting relationships not just in the higher levels of government but within the neighborhoods,” says Howell, who is also publisher and editor of the Warwick Beacon. “He is good at opening lines of communication, whether he agrees with them or not, and fairly telling the story.”



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