December 2014: A makeover for a magazine

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To work in the publishing business is to live in a state of perpetual anxiety: Can we chase down enough digital dimes to make up for the print dollars that have gone away? Will the next generation of readers, raised on the expectation that all content should be free, pay for something as quaint as a newspaper (or magazine) subscription? Where is the place for legacy media in a world of now, now, now?

Photograph by Caroline C. Kilgore
Photograph by Caroline C. Kilgore

Photograph by Caroline C. Kilgore

I believe—and I’ve essentially staked my kids’ college educations on it—that the role of magazines like ours is as essential as it’s ever been, not just in spite of the crowded media marketplace, but because of it. Seeking information on the Internet is like drinking from a fire hose. Think about the websites you go to or the apps you call up on your phone—consistently, day in and day out. If you’re like me, they number less than a dozen. Because what we crave isn’t just the facts, but a better understanding of what those facts mean. The what, yes, but ultimately the why. That emphasis on context, buttressed by diligently reported facts, is where we at Atlanta magazine have cast our lot, whether our platform is digital or print.

12Dec14coverWhich brings me to the new look we’re debuting this month. A redesign at a magazine is a tricky proposition; like renovating your kitchen, you need to strike a balance between form and function. I expect much of what you’ll see in the pages to come will feel familiar—thanks to the singular talents of our design director, Liz Noftle—but also new. For instance, what we once called Agenda is now The Connector, and the stories within that section can be as long (or as short) as they need to be, a flexibility the previous design didn’t permit. Some other changes may surprise you. One of the toughest decisions I made during this process was to end Hollis Gillespie’s column on the back page. Hollis is a hilariously engaging writer, but I felt that, after six years, it was time to reimagine that space. Every month, “One Square Mile” will reveal a corner of the vast metro Atlanta area that you may not even know existed. In this way, the feature will do what we seek to achieve on every page: reflect who we are, now.

This article originally appeared in our December 2014 issue.

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