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Posts Tagged ‘Texas Monthly’

Behind the Scenes With Sam Martin, Texas Monthly‘s Director of Digital Strategy

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:

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The (New) Cost of Longform Journalism at Esquire

Would you pay $1.99 just to read one story?

That’s the question Esquire magazine is posing to readers as of late, testing out a “micropayment” model for writer Luke Dittrich’s 10,000-word piece “The Prophet,” based on Dr. Eben Alexander, a neurosurgeon who claims to have visited heaven.

Esquire editor-in-chief David Granger penned the following note for prospective buyers on the magazine’s site:

“This is the first time we’ve asked online readers to pay for a story, but for good reason: Because stories like Dittrich’s matter and they don’t come along often. Because great journalism—and the months that go into creating it—isn’t free. So, besides providing the story to readers of our print and digital-tablet versions of the August issue, we are offering it to online readers as a stand-alone purchase. Thank you. —DG”

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Become an Online Columnist for Texas Monthly

Broadly speaking, Texas Monthly is a magazine about the culture of Texas, which encompasses a great many things, including smart book reviews, trustworthy and fun reader service, literary essays and feature writing, interviews with newsmakers, great art and photography, political columns and commentary, humor and investigative reporting. And if you’re from the Lone Star state, or have lived a good amount of time there,  you’ve got a leg up when pitching.

“The best way to get in the magazine as a freelancer is to pitch a great Texas story, to know the subject matter, and to have a keen sense of what most Texas Monthly stories are like,” says editor Jake Silverstein. “Reading the magazine closely and demonstrating an understanding of its tone and sensibility are key.”

Freelancers can also break into the website, which has ramped up content in the past year. One-off stories, column ideas and multimedia (with a written story) are all game.

For more information, read How To Pitch: Texas Monthly. [Mediabistro AvantGuild subscription required]