You may have noticed: magazine editors are famously obsessed with numbers. Just look at the covers of the glossies the next time you’re standing in the grocery checkout: 10 Easy Dinners! 29 Ways to Please Your Man! 101 Cute Cat Videos You MUST See! Folks in the publishing business believe that such figures are pretty much magical. Industry experts go so far as to claim that covers containing odd numbers—like 11 More Things You Never Wanted to Know About Kim Kardashian’s Divorce!—always outsell the even-numbered approaches.
Lately, I’ve been pondering some very specific numbers: This, for example, is the 76th issue of Minnesota Monthly that I’ve helped cobble together. It is also my last.
I joined the magazine’s staff in late 2005, just as the largest edition in the publication’s history—a 344-page whopper—was going to press. My job, as a newly hired senior editor, was to launch several new franchises, including the magazine’s first-ever Salary Survey (147 paychecks!) and its now-almost-annual Best Doctors for Women issue (418 physicians!). As I moved up the ladder to the post of chief, the numbers climbed too: I slept in dozens of B&Bs, saw hundreds of shows, and logged countless meals in restaurants good and bad. I had the great fortune to work with dozens of talented writers, four fine art directors, and an editorial staff that fluctuated in size between four and seven people but always managed enough horsepower to do the work of 15. I hired more interns than I can remember.
But recently, I found myself thinking about Act 2. After two decades in journalism, perhaps it was time for an intermission and a new challenge. By the time you read this, in fact, I’ll be on to the next adventure as an editorial content-strategy consultant. (See Refresh-Content.com if you’re curious.) I haven’t closed the door on journalism, but one thing that has always appealed to me about hearing and telling stories are their unexpected twists and turns. A good author knows when to throw in a cliffhanger—so here’s mine.
Besides, 2013 seemed like the right time for change. After all, it is odd.
Todd Smith, who wrote this month’s “Last Word” column, is a Twin Cities-based freelance writer and manual laborer. He is a former columnist for METRO magazine and currently writes for the Minnesota Wild website. When he isn’t writing or working, Smith enjoys building LEGOs with his son, Murphy, eating bacon at Zumbro Café with his wife, Sarah, and playing hockey outside until his face freezes off.
Luxury-jewelry designer Stephanie Lake has a PhD in the History of Decorative Arts and, according to our style editor, is arguably the most fashionable person in town. Her work has garnered a following across the country, and her passion for fine design led her and her husband to launch “Dress Rehearsal,” an arts fundraiser featuring couture pieces, hosted this month at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
Our food critic and senior editor Rachel Hutton wrote our cover story this month about the best pizza to be had in the Twin Cities. Tough job but someone’s arteries needed to do it. “I ate a lifetime’s worth of pizza—in a month,” she says. “I expect to unearth the last slice of DiNoko’s deep-dish from my freezer sometime in July.” What did she learn? “It’s personal. Square cut or triangle cut is like choosing boxers or briefs.” Read more: “The Twin Cities Best Best Pizza”