Vail Daily Editor Don Rogers: A side dish of red meat
Vail, CO, Colorado
No, it’s not “Fifty to Eighty,” the publisher of Denver’s 5280 magazine said with a laugh. And no age jokes here about the crowd Monday night at the Minturn Saloon, like me, more salt than pepper.
Founder and Publisher David Brogan told an audience of Vail Symposium supporters about starting his now highly successful city magazine in his apartment with his life savings and maxed-out credit cards in 1993.
Fine, great story, a Horatio Alger for our time. More impressive is that he was a reporter and columnist for The Chicago Tribune before reaching for glory in Denver. Now that’s talent.
I have this little fantasy of my home paper, The Los Angeles Times, begging me to come home and just write columns for them. It’s one of those dreams that won’t happen, and I’d say no anyway. I already have the best job in journalism.
Brogan did a cool thing when he looked at launching yet another magazine in Denver by surveying 75,000 people to learn what might interest people there.
Participate in The Longevity Project
The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
To a perhaps jaded reader, it appears that what interests Denver is pretty much the same as what must appeal to every magazine reader: highly stylized this-and-that bites, calendars, a couple of essays, a few fashion pictures, some restaurant stuff, a house spread, lots and lots of ads – and oh, here’s a long “cover” story that isn’t really on the cover.
That’s the pearl, or rather the little bit of grit, in an otherwise shiny shell. In the September issue, this is a long look at the Fourmile Fire last year outside Boulder that destroyed 169 homes. 8250 has done other serious work, such as looking at soldier suicides, finding holes in the Air Force Academy rape case and exposing the plight of dying workers at Rocky Flats who were denied health benefits.
They’ve done this while the big leaguers have pulled back. It’s a strange time, when the large papers do less investigative work and a pretty city magazine does more.
Brogan credits this editorial investment with spurring ad sales. There’s a nice thought. But more likely, it’s the other stuff, along with a strong ad staff, that supports a side dish of red meat journalism. Otherwise the cover story really is on the cover, right?
We’re working on a little project about golf’s impact on the Vail Valley. Writers are taking turns from the daily grind to do some longer-form work. It’s even harder to pull off now than before, and I’d love to believe there’s a tangible payoff in, say, more sales.
The regular fare readers allegedly want is great. But this is more our calling, which, at the very least, helps keep things from getting old.