Publishers, Cowboys and Golfers

As the publisher, I often hear from people about what they like and dislike about the magazine. Two areas of criticism I have heard on occasion is that our magazine is geared to too high-end of a reader and that we cover too much Western/equine related editorial. These are two critiques I don’t mind fielding.

Regarding our editorial being directed to a high-end demographic reader, my response is that we cannot be all things to all people. Many magazines that have tried have gone by the wayside. Life magazine was one of the greatest general interest magazines of all time. It folded once in 1972 and again in 2000. The primary reason stated by experts was circulation decline based on the increased popularity of TV and because its broad, general content was made less relevant by niche magazines. You will hear no apology from me for our targeting our magazine to a more sophisticated reader. We are not a general interest publication, but a city magazine targeting a very defined reader.

As for our coverage of Western/equine related editorial (See Rope ’Em, Throw ’Em, Brand ’Em, page 52), this is our city’s heritage and I believe strongly that we need to keep it alive.

In the mid ’80s, a number of people in local leadership campaigned to distance Fort Worth from our cowboy image when marketing our city. They believed that it put us behind the times and that we needed to be more contemporary — like Dallas. Over the years, there’s been a compromise that today combines cowboys and culture. That is the philosophy that we live by here at The City’s Magazine.

Someone else who felt this way was Amon G. Carter. As the creator and publisher of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Carter used the Western persona to help put Fort Worth on the national map both culturally and politically. The Star-Telegram was, at one point, the largest newspaper from here to the Pacific Ocean. Carter’s media empire of the newspaper, WBAP-TV (now KXAS-Ch. 5) and WBAP-radio (820 AM) was unprecedented at that time. When the Star-Telegram sold to Capital Cities of New York, it was said to have been the largest amount ever paid for an American newspaper. Not bad for an advertising salesman for a small startup newspaper called the Star who bought out his main competition, the Fort Worth Telegram, to avoid going bankrupt.

With most successful organizations, there is a recognizable life span of achievement and distinction, in addition to whatever other ways success is measured. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram is a story of success by any definition in achieving a 100-year plus history of continuous publication.

As you can tell, I am a big fan of Amon Carter and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. They both helped build this city, and for that we should be exceedingly grateful. Like Fort Worth, Texas magazine is your city magazine, the Star-Telegram is our newspaper. Although this month’s story “Extra! Extra! The Star-Telegram: Is It Still Relevant?” (See page 60) is about the decline of our city’s paper, it is not a slam of the Star-Telegram by a competitive publication, but an overview of newspapers across the country. The Star-Telegram, however, has the additional burdeon of helping to carry the debt load of parent company McClathy Newspapers.

Finally, May in Fort Worth means golf. Area golfers are getting in as many rounds as they can before the heat of June, July and August. In our cover story, friend of the magazine J.J. Henry, along with J.J. Killen, Mark Brooks and numerous other touring pros shed insight with us on why they call Fort Worth home.




Hal A. Brown