We are still here. What is more, we have no plans to leave. A business reaching its 50th anniversary should be taken as a sign of strength and survival, but in these web-based days, print’s endurance is being questioned. Are we a relic whose destiny is to be squished into iPhone-sized pixels and dismissed forever with the flick of a thumb? The answer is no.
Print, words on paper, is challenged by the internet in different ways. That beeping sound in our pockets is often a news story breaking, as reported by some alert system. Print cannot compete with that, and that’s why newspapers have had to rethink themselves. But the internet isn’t good with the details. It can tell us that a certain intersection is accident prone, but analysis by numbers and discussion of cause and solutions is unbearable for the small screen. Nothing spells out stories better than the broad pages of a newspaper.
News magazines have had a hard time competing in the new age, but city magazines, such as New Orleans, are something different. We aren’t often first responders to the big story, but maybe fourth or fifth responders reporting on what services are available in the neighborhood, who the best doctors are and where to get a good burger.
We are of the genre known as “lifestyle” magazines, and the internet really isn’t capable of messing around with us – at least not to the discriminating reader. We can present photography more colorfully and give more space for articles. No one can do fashion spreads and home articles better than magazines. We are also better able to provide something that’s disappearing in the medium: a sense of history and community.
We regard the internet as an accomplice rather than an enemy. Blogs, e-mail and social media allow for instant communication unparalleled in word history, but this is language written in short blurbs and too often with what looks like code. A magazine, at least, respects the written word. Good writing is an elusive mustang, but we try hard to lasso it.
Our own website, MyNewOrleans.com, provides a second wind for our editorial pages to be discovered by global search engines looking for relevant topics. Magazines provide the content; the internet can give the reach.
For magazines to survive they need the support of advertisers and the interest of readers. We have been blessed with both, while at the same time knowing that to do our job correctly we shouldn’t be subservient to either. Nevertheless, on this special occasion we thank both groups for their support – financially and in spirit.
There are city magazines throughout the country. We are the only one blessed with a city like New Orleans, where lifestyle isn’t just a newsbeat but an obsession. The city thrives and gets better. We hope to do the same.