You hold in your hands the first edition of WildIndiana magazine; let me welcome you to my nightmare. Sorry, I meant dream.
I’ll answer the first question that many people have right from the start: why are you starting a print magazine when the entire publishing industry is a zombie, dead to everyone except crusty unreconstructed writers, a rotting corpse shambling forward toward the pit of bankruptcy?
Yes, it is undeniable that the media business is undergoing some challenging times. However, I have an unshakable belief that specialized publications such as this magazine can not only develop an audience but ultimately thrive, at least in a modest way.
As a long-time outdoor writer, I know there are countless stories to tell about all the great recreation opportunities in Indiana. Ironically, while there is a great demand for such stories, there are fewer and fewer publications where you can actually read such things. Thus, we hope to ride in on a white horse (a clapped-out old van, actually) and fill that need for readers and advertisers.
The first key to success of any publication is to focus on providing the audience with information that is important to them in some way. We will never forget that focus and every story is evaluated by a series of questions: Is it local? Is it well-written and illustrated? Does it impart knowledge that readers want and/or need? Does it entertain?
If we can answer those questions affirmatively, I believe this somewhat unorthodox experiment will succeed.
My vision is to build a community of writers, photographers, readers and advertisers who are excited to be part of this physical touchstone that is made from the common thread that we all share, a love of getting outdoors In Indiana.
And that is one of the most important points of what we are trying to do. I discovered years ago during my halcyon newspaper columnist days that virtually everyone enjoys outdoor recreation even if they don’t consider themselves (I hate this term) “outdoorsy.” Therefore, our goal is to serve up great hunting and fishing stories while also sharing all the other fun and interesting things there are to do in the unpaved hinterlands of Indiana. No matter if you like to watch birds or eat them – probably both – we hope that WildIndiana Magazine is a “big tent” where everyone can find something useful to their own outdoor interests.
It has been an interesting, frustrating, rewarding, exasperating, terrifying and ultimately exciting journey over the last year trying to essentially build an aircraft carrier from a handful of iron ore. I hope that this first issue will prove “merely adequate” as we strive to grow better, larger and even more relevant as the months and years progress. To do that, we need your support and input.
Let us know how we are doing, even if you don’t like it. Tell us what stories you would like to see covered and the places where the magazine should be distributed. If you own a business, help us support our community because (as you well know) it isn’t cheap to buy paper and gasoline. As I have often said, this needs to be a community of like-minded souls in order to succeed.
That’s my dream and, putting sarcasm aside, I really don’t think it will become a nightmare. There are simply too many good Hoosier outdoor stories to tell and too many people that would like to hear them for our experiment in modern outdoor journalism to fail.
So, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
I hope to see you somewhere out there, in WildIndiana.