Last August in this space, before Paul Burka ever dreamed of locking horns with fans of A-Rod and clean air, I previewed a few changes to the most recent incarnation of Texas Monthly. In essence, I said, they’d come in two phases: things we’d do right away and things that would take more time. Eight months later, phase one is complete. As promised, we’re publishing long-form journalism again, at least once or twice a month, from Skip Hollandsworth’s chronicling of the Sarofim family divorces to Katy Vine’s tale of the unmaking of a cybercommunity. We’re back to punching sacred cows when circumstances warrant, as the many people who objected to our selection of George W. Bush as Bum Steer of the Year can tell you. (If only they had his sense of humor about it.) We’ve gotten more aggressive about covering the whole state—big cities, small towns, and everything in between. And both our stories and our contributors are more ethnically diverse, part of our ongoing effort to make the magazine read more like the Texas of today.Now comes phase two, in which we rethink what we’re about on a grander scale. Whenever the longtime editor of a magazine steps aside, the new one tinkers with the existing format even if it’s working, as ours basically was. A magazine is a reflection of one person’s taste, interests, and judgment, and that person is the editor, which is to say, in our case, me. But the imperative for change is less about what I want than what we need. An institution like this one, living and breathing as it has for more than 28 years, is referred to as “mature,” which is a polite way of saying that a lot of people have been used to things being done a certain way for a long time, and they don’t cotton to things being done differently. It’s a classic old-dog-new-tricks problem. But times change and places change—certainly Texas is vastly different than it was five or ten years ago—and so all of us must change too, no matter which old dog happens to be in charge of the pack.
That’s why you’re