PUBLISHER’S NOTE: Our Own Best and Worst
Oh, how it pains me to say nice things. Especially when they’re about the people who work for me.
The magazine business can still knock me over. I’ve been doing this for a while (well, for 31 years, if anyone’s counting), and I’ve been through a lot of peaks and valleys—a lot of valleys. So it’s with a well-earned humility that I look back on a year like 2005 and realize that, once again, D Magazine has set a record in every area of performance.
Of course, the magazine shouldn’t be the subject of that sentence. The magazine is just a bunch of pages filled with words and pictures. It’s the people who choose to work here and the people who allow us to publish their stories and photography who make up the magazine. This year they outdid themselves.
Editorial: Nominated for seven Katie Awards, our editors and designers (with help from two freelancers) won five—the highest number I can recall having won in a single year. Not only did we win for Best Magazine, but design director Todd Johnson and his talented team won the Best Magazine Design award. Executive editor Tim Rogers was recognized for writing excellence, and managing editor Jennifer Chininis took honors for our outstanding consumer service. My favorite was Todd Bensman’s award for Best Investigative Reporting. His April 2005 article, "Tom Coleman is Not the Biggest Racist in America," proved that most of what you read about the 1999 Tulia mass drug bust in the Dallas Morning News and the New York Times was wrong. Naturally, that’s no surprise. When the major media are marching in lockstep, you can pretty much bet it’s in the wrong direction.
Readership: Quality editorial gained us 10,000 new readers, taking us to a total readership of 605,00—the highest in our 31-year history. To put that in perspective, our little magazine each month has half the weekday readership of the Dallas Morning News and only 135,000 fewer than the daily Star-Telegram. For a monthly city magazine, that’s pretty impressive, especially when you take into account the demographics. The News, for example, reports an average household income of $83,000. D Magazine’s is $227,400.
Advertising: Nothing is possible, of course, without revenue. In 2005, our advertising hit an all-time high, 20 percent ahead of the year before. We served more new clients than ever.
The surprising thing about this surge in new business is that it was accompanied by a surge in competition. Whenever the Dallas economy is good, new magazines seem to sprout out of nowhere. But I hardly have reason to complain. D Magazine has spun off, started, or contracted to produce enough new magazines to fill its own newsstand: this past year, our company published 17 monthlies, bi-monthlies, quarterlies, bi-annuals, and annuals. In 2006, we’re scheduled to produce 21 (so far).
With all of this momentum we’ve built, I’d like to be able to claim that D Magazine marshaled the city and led Dallas into a bright, gleaming future. The fact is, we lost every editorial battle we entered, and in the case of the strong mayor, we lost twice—and resoundingly. (We feel Mayor Miller’s pain. See the "Best & Worst" cover story.) But that’s okay. During three decades, our defeats have been many and large; our victories few and small. They are enough, however, to keep us going—and to believe that the next year will be even better than the last.