The occasion of our third anniversary issue is a good time to do a little editorial housekeeping, which in this case means catching our readers up on the news around here and pointing out some things I may have forgotten to mention before.
The best news is the return of Jim Atkinson to our masthead last month as senior editor. Jim, who’s one of the magazine’s founders, left us last year to concentrate on his writing career. He fixed up one of those comfortable home offices, bought himself a sturdy writer’s typewriter, and proceeded to do what all good writers do when they’re at home all day by themselves: watch television. After turning out several very successful magazine pieces, Jim got tired of not having anyone around to cuss at or to lie to, so we offered him a new desk and a new typewriter and any title of his choice to come back and do his writing here. When you settle down to read Jim’s piece on the Willard Jackson rape case in this issue, you’ll understand why we’re so glad to have him back. It’s one of the finest investigative articles ever published in this city, and it raises a number of urgent questions about the imperfections of.our criminal justice system.
Our other senior editor is John Merwin, who became a television personality this past summer by appearing on WFAA-TVs “Access” with KRLD’s Alex Burton and urban planner Marshall Kaplan. It was an interesting and sometimes controversial series on city problems and politics, and I hope WFAA finds a way to bring it back in the near future. John’s major interest since he came to work here has been business reporting, so it’s appropriate that we begin our fourth year by introducing John’s new column on business doings in Dallas and Fort Worth. I’ve always been a little amazed at the mediocrity of the newspapers’ business reporting in this very business-oriented region. But you can’t have good business reporting unless you have reporters with a good grasp of fundamental business practice and with some idea of how money works. John’s strong credentials have been a major reason for D Magazine’s credibility in this area. We’ve given John’s column our oldest working title at the magazine, “Everybody’s Business,” and reshaped the material that used to be included in that section into a new format entitled “Up Front,” under the care of associate editor David Bauer.
While we’re working to improve the magazine, other media in town aren’t sitting still. In fact, the media situation in this area has brightened considerably in three years. One example is “Texas Politics,” a program produced by KERA- TV and hosted by reporter Dave McNeely. Channel 13 has been responsible for a lot of fine programming, but this show is something special because of the insight it gives into state-wide political maneuverings. (The other night McNeely had Comptroller Bob Bullock repeat on videotape the charges he’s been making about the attorney general’s office, then had Attorney General John Hill respond live in the studio. I felt like I had a front row seat at a political dogfight.)
Last, a report on D Magazine’s growth. With our November issue we will be guaranteeing our advertisers an average paid circulation of 50,000. That means we’re now delivering about one-fifth of the average daily circulation of the major newspapers. The magazine now ranks as the number two selling monthly magazine at area supermarkets, following Cosmopolitan. Those numbers, and an excellent group of sales representatives, have led to this anniversary issue being among the largest we’ve ever published, with more pages of advertising than ever before.
With only two issues out, our new sister publication, Texas Homes, has already gained 12,000 subscribers, mostly in Dallas and Fort Worth, and its sales on statewide newsstands are running at 80 percent, which is phenomenal for a new magazine. Texas Homes is under the leadership of editor and associate publisher Ann Richardson, who formerly was circulation director of D Magazine.
Ann and I had the pleasure a few weeks ago of visiting with Ed and Gloria Self, who founded the first city magazine, San Diego, twenty-nine years ago. As it turned out, the Selfs not only started a magazine, but began an industry. City and regional magazines are the hottest thing going in American publishing today. And I’m not just referring to the size of our issues or number of advertising pages. The aggressive and independent editorial stance of these local publications has brought a new reader excitement to magazines in general. If you’ve ever cussed us, applauded us. or slapped our wrists, you’ve been a participant in the publishing event we’re a part of. It’s your relationship with this magazine that has brought us to our third anniversary, and, fingers crossed, will bringus to many more.