Manchester Ink Link Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Ink Link News publisher Carol Robidoux gets her photo taken by Stacy Harrison during the Ink Link News 10th Anniversay celebration at The Rex on June 29. Photo/Dan Splaine photography.

MANCHESTER, NH – After years as a full-time journalist, Carol Robidoux in 2014 found herself laid off – for the second time, since the Great Recession of 2008 – and wondering what the future of news was going to look like. That’s when she decided to create her own news publication, and in 2014 she launched Manchester Ink Link, what she called a “community hub and news info site for the city of Manchester.

What started out as a one-woman operation has since turned into a robust local news outlet employing two full-time reporters – Andrew Sylvia and Mya Blanchard, a web developer, Manon Michel, and a slew of freelance reporters and photographers, all working to bring readers daily local and state news. In February, with support from the Granite State News Collaborative and grants from LION Publishers and the NH Charitable Foundation, Ink Link News expanded to include coverage into Nashua with the launch of Nashua Ink Link.

The June 29 celebration also marked the official launch of and a refresh of the new site’s brand.

Ink Link reporter Andrew Sylvia, left, and Candace Gibbons. Photo/Winter Trabex
Ink Link web developer Manon Michel, left, and Nashua reporter Mya Blanchard. Photo/Dan Splaine Photography
Carol Robidoux, center, with The Real Deal jazz combo, who performed for the 10th anniversary event at The Rex Theatre. Photo/Dan Splaine Photography
In two takes: Many community members who have become contributors to Ink Link News over the years pose with publisher Carol Robidoux. Photo/Craig Lavigne

Currently, Ink Link accepts submissions from reporters, letters from from members of the community, press reports from official government departments, and content from Granite State News Collaborative media partners. 

Carol often credits the support of her husband, Jim Robidoux, who she says has always been her biggest cheerleader – even during some of the most difficult times to stay afloat, including the COVID pandemic. Born months apart in the same hospital in Philadelphia, they were high school sweethearts and married at an early age and raised four kids together. Over the years, Jim says he has seen Carol blossom from a reporter who moved to New Hampshire for work into an entrepreneur who created something out of nothing.

Jim Robidoux shows off a pizza, one of many pizzas and other food items provided by local businesses that sponsored the event. Photo/Jeffrey Hastings

“The Union Leader brought Carol and our family to New Hampshire,” Jim said. “Seven years later, she was laid off as a staffer. She worked as a correspondent for three years in the greater Derry area before moving over to Nashua Patch. Three years later they laid her off, January 2014. Through unemployment, Pathway to Work, it paid her six months of unemployment to start a business.”

Rather than looking for work elsewhere, as she could have done, Carol decided she was tired of being laid off. When she talks about starting Ink Link, she describes it as a place for her to work as long as she wanted “with the best boss she ever had.”

“She’s always been a news person,” Jim said. “She just became a new flowering butterfly. She loves journalism, and is great at it.”

“I’m just glad it all worked out,” Carol said.

The celebration took place at the Rex Theater on Amherst Street, part of the Palace Theatres, which Carol identified as the organization’s first-ever advertiser. Sponsors of the anniversary event included The Pizza Man, Diz’s Cafe, The Sleazy Vegan, Fotia Greek Taverna, Great NH Restaurants, The HopKnot, The Moka Pot at City Hall Pub and Cross Insurance. A high school-age instrumental jazz band called The Real Deal performed for the crowd, jamming out tunes both energetic and soulful.

“Thank you all for all your support,” Carol said during the anniversary celebration. “Doing this is my way of contributing to the city. I think journalism is so important right now. I think local news is so important right now. With technology, with robots who want to help me all the time – and I really don’t want them to help me; I have a lot of humans helping me – I don’t know what the future’s gonna look like here. I don’t know what’s gonna happen. I think the most important thing we can do is to insist upon local news, local information, understanding our neighbors, having real conversations.”

Disclaimer: Winter Trabex has been freelancing for Manchester Ink Link since October 2019 and is a friend to both Carol and Jim Robodioux.