So, what I’d intended to be “four questions with Sam Martin of Texas Monthly magazine,” turned into something like 7.5 questions with Sam Martin. There was just too much to learn.
He knows the journalism business well as it relates to the digital realm (are they even separate entities?), but we all start somewhere. Martin began his writing career with the Austin Chronicle penning museum and gallery reviews, eventually making a move to New York in 1999, where he helped build Mother Earth News’ very first website.
Martin told MediaBistro via email, “The idea back then was that magazines simply needed a presence on the Web. We were going to sell subscriptions, not publish content. Salon and Slate were doing that and everyone thought they were crazy.” (My, how times have changed).
After a stint as a senior editor at This Old House, Martin moved back to Austin and freelanced, wrote books (you might have heard of Manspace: A Primal Guide for Marking Your Territory), gave a TED talk inspired by that particular book, ghostwrote and practiced web design. Finally, before settling into his digs at Texas Monthly’s downtown Austin 17th-floor space, he honed his content strategy, technology and design skills with the design and innovation firm, frog design.
Here’s what he has to say about wearing several different hats, how barbecue fits into a National Magazine Award-winning publication, sponsored content and the best/worst things digital pubs can do online: