Written By Sherwood Kohn
Six years ago (I can’t believe it’s been that long), my sons dragged me grumbling and muttering out of journalistic retirement to start up this magazine.
The year 2004 was a precarious time for print publications. We did not know how long Carroll Magazine would last. But, we said, it was worth a shot. Baltimore had its own magazine, so did Washington and Philadelphia. Could Carroll County support a bi-monthly publication devoted to serving a largely rural area with an increasingly suburban population of more than 175,000 and growing?
We were not sure. But our guts told us that people in today’s world are awash in an ocean of trends, data, interests, activities and economic concerns that make up our common experience, and that those very subjects are the stuff of which service publications are made.
Since we took the plunge in 2004, the climate for print publications has not improved. Newspapers are going out of business right and left, readers are finding their entertainment and information in tweets and blogs and advertisers are fleeing to the Web.
But magazines have not been savaged in the same way as the dailies. Bi-monthlies like ours do not arrive on your doorstep every day. Their views are longer-looking, they offer service and articles beyond quickie digests and they stay in their readers’ living rooms for relatively long periods; sometimes for weeks or even months. Subscribers can pick them up twice, perhaps three or four times before the next issue and find something to read that they missed the first time around. And some, like ours, offer direct service, such as where to buy a Christmas tree, when to find an audiologist or how to bake cookies.
Not that things have been easy. The economy plunged off a cliff three years ago, and our advertising department has worked heroically to keep us from falling along with it. At the same time, the editors increased their efforts to serve you as readers, and to focus our articles on what is going on in Carroll County and the world beyond it.
And because we have expanded our readership base, and perhaps just because we are still publishing, more and more people have become aware of our existence, more good writers are interested in contributing to our magazine, and every day, an increasing number of readers are suggesting good ideas for articles.
It is gratifying to see our magazine get its sea legs and assume a life of its own. My sons have told me that they think I enjoy editing Carroll Magazine. I try not to show it, but maybe they’re right.
In any event, I hope you have as good a year in 2011 as I have had shepherding this publication for the past six.