What are the best small local-history/culture magazines or publications in North America?
I've just become the chairperson on the board of a local publication of long standing. It has suffered from a declining readership and, frankly, spotty quality over the past decade. In the last year, a new editor and designer have taken the reins, both volunteers and without much experience but with lots of enthusiasm.
The magazine serves a largely semi-rural population with a couple of large towns and a mid-size city in the mix; its focus is non-fiction, but it's written for general access and is not a scholarly journal.
I'm looking at this as a chance to start a longer-term revitalization of the magazine, and I thought the best way to go about it would be to seek out exemplary magazines that have the same rough characteristics as ours, and look at what other publications are doing with success.
Here's a list of six characteristics that I think define the magazine, more or less in order of importance for what I have in mind:
- Geographically defined;
- Articles on past history and current culture*;
- High quality of writing and design;
- Independently owned and locally published/distributed;
- Regularly published.
*culture not just meaning music and the visual arts, but culture in the more traditional sense as well: professions, traditions, etc.
Don't feel entirely bound to hit all six of the above, but the top three are pretty important. Feel free to colour outside the lines if you think you have a line on something amazing. The "Small Farmer's Journal
" has come up as an interesting publication that works as an example: it's not bound by geography but by a culture, yet still kind of falls into our wheelhouse.