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A Change of Scenery

A new look for Texas Monthly.

By January 2014Comments

The magazine looks different this month.

We’ve made some big changes to Reporter, created a new Columns section, and moved our lifestyle section, Touts, to the back of the book. All of this is the product of long thought. Since our last big revamp of the magazine, in September 2012, we’ve been tinkering behind the scenes, monitoring what’s working and what could be working better. There are a finite number of editorial pages in every issue (around 75), and we want each one to be as useful, satisfying, and compelling as possible. And because a printed page is just one manner by which our words and images reach readers, we’ve also kept a close eye on how stories from the magazine perform when they leave these friendly confines and set out into the egalitarian maelstrom of limitless content known as the Internet. The changes we’ve made take into account that our work is being read in a wide variety of formats, by a bigger and more dynamic audience than ever. We think that’s a good thing.

Here’s a brief introduction to the changes. Up front, we’ve returned the Reporter section, which first debuted way back in 1974, to a format more akin to its original one: a collection of various and sundry items that capture the mood and meaning of life in Texas right now. Over time, this approach to Reporter had been abandoned, as readers gravitated toward the web for such things, but there is now so much information swarming at us at all times that a thoughtful selection of worthwhile dispatches has great value. (In fact, some of the pieces of this section will be contributed by the team that works on our news blog, the Daily Post, which has thrived since it relaunched this past September under the guidance of deputy web editor Andrea Valdez.)

Following Reporter, which is run by senior editor Jeff Salamon, our Columns section will feature three or four longish essays per month. Some of our columnists are familiar names (writers-at-large Stephen Harrigan and Michael Ennis will be writing, respectively, about film and books); some are newer voices, including Loren Steffy, who will cover business, and Sterry Butcher, who will write about the rural life (she also has a lovely feature in the current issue on page 94). 

Following Reporter and Columns, which are like the appetizers to our feast, come the feature stories, or entrées. After that comes Touts, which plays the role of dessert. We’ve added a new product page, Made in Texas; a new travel page, 5 of a Kind (which will alternate with the Wanderer); and a Cocktail of the Month to go along with Patricia Sharpe’s restaurant review. And then, of course, there is the Texanist, the proverbial cherry on top (or in the back), who will continue to dole out his signature fine advice from his perch on the back page. If it ain’t broke . . .

These changes have come in part as a result of paying close attention to how readers are using our magazine and website. So let us know what you think. Talk to us on Twitter and Facebook, post comments on our site, email us, call us, or send us an old-fashioned letter. We’re listening.

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