IT’S A HISTORIC YEAR. Have you heard? Yes, I guess you have. From the Olympics to politics, the David and Goliath stories of improbable success in the face of overwhelming odds have become almost de rigueur. And, if you’ll allow us, we’d like to humbly claim a small victory of our own. Portland Monthly has just turned five.
Granted, five years may not seem that long, but to us it’s nothing less than extraordinary. In 2003, when we launched the magazine, many people said starting a city magazine in Portland simply couldn’t be done. “Portlanders like books, not magazines. We’re not cosmopolitan enough for a glossy,” one naysayer told me.
Who could really blame them for their skepticism? Since 1980, there had been at least 13 previous attempts to launch a magazine in Portland (and 13 subsequent failures), and statistics showed that “traditional media” like magazines were on the fast track to obsolescence. Not only that, but mass-media consolidations across the country had created a climate in which small, independent publishers could not possibly compete. Or so went the thinking. Today, however, we are happy to report that here, in Portland, independent local media can not only survive but decidedly thrive.
In the late 1990s, when I was serving as vice president of online business development at Turner Broadcasting System, I heard Ted Turner speak at a new media conference. At the time, people were not just asking but hounding him about his Internet strategy. Ted Turner is not someone you want to hound—unless of course you’re looking for a quote too colorful to actually print—and this day was no exception. After an exhaustive round of questions from journalists who seemed to be attempting to prove that Turner didn’t understand the Internet, he blew. If memory serves, this is what he said: “I don’t care if you watch it on your TV, your mobile phone, or your damned computer. There’s only one fucking Gone With the Wind, and I own it.”
Once I’d smoothed down my hair and the ringing in my ears had died down, I figured it out. Turner, one guy whose status as a maverick is indisputable, had just delivered an indispensable piece of advice: Valuable and desired content is king. Anyone who’s done a Google search can tell you that there’s no lack of information available—but reliable information is harder to come by. It’s still what people crave. And it’s what we think has made the difference in our magazine’s success.
Which is why we’re celebrating our fifth birthday by launching Portland Monthly’s new website. From trail guides to weekend getaways to up-to-the-minute entertainment and restaurant listings, Portlandmonthlymag.com is the source of information you need. We don’t mind if you enjoy Portland Monthly on paper, on your computer, or on your iPhone. We know great content is what matters to you, and so it matters the most to us.
Thank you from all of us at Portland Monthly. Our success has allowed us to launch Portland Spaces, Portland Bride & Groom, Seattle Metropolitan, and Seattle Metropolitan Bride & Groom. We are grateful for the support that our readers, our investors, and our advertisers have given us. It’s our hope that we will continue to meet—and exceed—your expectations of reliable, invaluable content for years to come.