I soak up media news like a sponge. Whether it’s a mogul profile, editorial smackdown, or high-flying launch, I search these stories for any possible nugget of insight or information that I can translate into a big opportunity for a small publication and that might help me steer a smarter course into new publishing territories, whether it be print, web, blog, twitter, or the next big thing.
Tina Brown said something in a recent profile of Si Newhouse in New York magazine that caught my attention: “I brought in the news gene,” she is quoted as saying. “Newhouse came to understand that news was key to connection to the culture.” I often try and understand why our publication package is working so well. Is it the local news? The insider details? The design? The smart focus of our reporting? Why do we get so many gracious notes and comments and even adoration from our readers when we are out and about?
I think that it’s all of the above—plus the gossip—and it just so happens that even though we call ourselves a newspaper, we are in fact a new kind of hybrid between a magazine, a newspaper, and a clubhouse that reaches a community by being relevant and also knowing what our readers care about. When it comes to local news, big events, and selected tidbits from all over, we connect our broad readership of professionals in the built environment to the culture of architecture.
Perhaps asking the question is what keeps the answer—and The Architect’s Newspaper—so lively. We are just excited that it’s working and that we are having so much fun while we’re at it. So much so that we are hurtling on from launching our California issue in 2007 to testing the waters around Chicago. So here it is, folks, your first peek at the Midwest edition: premiering at NeoCon this June, with follow-up issues as of January 2010. We hope you’ll soak them up, too.
Diana Darling, Publisher
AN’s Midwest-themed issue comes at an important moment for Chicago and the region. As it celebrates the centennial of the Burnham Plan, Chicago has seen the completion of a major new cultural building, the Renzo Piano–designed Modern Wing at the Art Institute, and is welcoming two of architecture’s major talents, Zaha Hadid and UNStudio’s Ben van Berkel, with commissions for temporary pavilions.
Beyond these already major events, there is a sense that the city is in the midst of a homegrown architectural renaissance. Chicago architects are again gaining national and international attention, with large offices creating skyscrapers and campuses of note at home and abroad, and smaller firms designing innovative cultural, community, residential, and commercial projects. Many of the institutions that make the city’s architectural culture so rich have new leadership and an energized sense of purpose.
The region overall has been hit hard by the economic downturn, and architects, planners, and designers are working creatively to confront these new realities. There is much on which to report, from St. Louis to St. Paul. The Midwest edition is conceived as a truly regional paper, and this issue features stories from five states. As always at AN, we strived to showcase best practices, illuminate pertinent issues, and enliven the dialog on the future of the built environment. Midwestern readers, stay tuned. You will be hearing more from us soon.
Alan G. Brake, Midwest Editor