Receiving the letter felt like the perfect storm, though that metaphor provides a somewhat ominous feel, so let’s call it the perfect confluence.
The Iowan recently passed a significant milestone. Sixty years. Six decades. More than half a century. (What, you missed it? Check out our September/October 2011 issue.) Any publication that can engage an audience for three generations has earned some recognition. Through changes in leadership, shifting audiences, and ever-evolving political, cultural, and natural landscapes, this magazine endures. Such constants are welcome anchors.
Fast on the heels of The Iowan’s 60th anniversary issue, I flew to Reno to attend the 51st conference of the International Regional Magazine Association. When the annual awards for storytelling excellence were handed out, I was proud to stand and accept a Gold Award (see details below). The staff of The Iowan works hard to discover the state’s noteworthy stories, to collaborate with the best storytellers, and to bring readers memorable moments of Iowa life. The magazine garners from our readers diverse, intermittent compliments (as well as instructive critiques), all of which are invaluable. Formal recognition from our professional peers simply put the words on a plaque. (A very nice plaque, by the way; see below.)
I touched down in Des Moines, where this November/December issue was already in progress. We were pouring rich content into the pages of the next installation of Iowa’s chronicles — examples of tradition and excellence and gastronomical goodness (page 14), accounts of innovation and legacy and percentages (page 18), scenes of determination and moxie and possibility (page 26), stories of creativity and ingenuity and edible wonder (page 36), moments of loyalty and pride and relief (page 44).
It was the day before press when the letter arrived. We had received many comments regarding our anniversary issue, but this missive stood out. Roger Burkhart alerted us to the remarkable fact that he’s been a subscriber since 1954 (see an excerpt from his letter on page 4). A Charter Subscriber. (Yes, capital C, capital S, and if you wear that badge, we want to hear from you, too.) The Iowan, I was reminded, is an institution, not only in its namesake state but also in the many pockets of the country and world where Iowa’s roots extend. Our connection to place is powerful, and those linkages fuel the essence of place.
That’s why a magazine like The Iowan was imagined 60 years ago. That’s why a magazine called The Iowan has been published for six decades. That’s why a magazine emblazoned with The Iowan matters. Thanks for reading.
“Indigo Rhythms,” January/February 2010.
Story by Peter Wilson.
Photography by Scott Allen, Julie Staub, and Cliff Thompson.
Beth Wilson, Editor