Jason Lee

You might think that texas monthly deserves its own Bum Steer for not using a Texan to create this month’s cover image, but it’s hard to argue with the results of Jason Lee’s work. The New Yorker (by way of Rhode Island) used a computerized 3-D technique to produce an illustration that captures—quite literally—the subjects of our annual satirical celebration (“The 2006 Bum Steer Awards,”. But the assignment was a challenge given that the artwork Lee designs for magazines such as New York, Popular Science, and Runner’s World usually involves diagrams, graphs, and maps. “The 3-D renderings I did for texas monthly are very different for me,” he says. “It’s like doing sculpture and photography, only inside a computer.”

Katy Vine

Associate editor Katy Vine started following the plight of Katie Wernecke last summer as stories began to surface about the young girl’s battle with Hodgkin’s disease. Trying to understand the actions of her parents, who had refused radiation therapy for their daughter, and the state, which had taken custody of Katie as a result, Vine visited the Werneckes at their ranch in Banquete and spent countless hours reviewing court documents. She found a far more complicated—and troubling—story than she had expected (texas monthly Reporter, “Whose Life Is It Anyway?”). “It’s hard to write about a child who is facing such increasing hardship,” Vine says. “Everyone has good intentions, but the opposing parties are tugging her in different directions, and the stakes couldn’t be higher.”

S.C. Gwynne

When the editors at texas monthly needed a writer who could explain the cultural chasm between Cabela’s and Whole Foods (“Retail Politics,”), they looked no further than executive editor S. C. Gwynne, an avid outdoorsman who’s been known to eat organic food that’s hard to pronounce. “At the extremes, the stereotypes hold up, with the man wearing flannel versus the woman who has just come from yoga class,” Gwynne says. “But it wasn’t until I interviewed one of President Bush’s chief strategists that the light went off in my head: Consumer preferences have everything to do with today’s political culture.”