Bravo. The latest issue looks terrific. HCN is always a great read, and your efforts to improve its look over the years are applauded.
Aberdeen, South Dakota
I really appreciate the changes you have made to the "magazine." As a former publisher myself, I know it is always a balance between cost and sophistication. I think the changes you have made exemplify the changing quality and importance of your magazine and will also enhance its marketability.
I almost threw out the latest copy of HCN, thinking it was a magazine or junk publication. I very much enjoy the old newspaper-type format. First, the older cover can absorb a little wine if it slops out of the glass while sitting on the side of a full bathtub -- all without ruining any of the articles inside. Second, I love the feel of "real" paper when I read, not the feel of some glossy pages. While I applaud the 22 issue change, please don't change the paper!
I'm not sure in our age of "green" choices that you have made the right one when I look at rising postage, the large format and heavier stock pages. Seems to me I remember a letter one or two postage hikes back when HCN was caught out badly and you wanted subscribers to contribute a bit more of their share to defray that cost of mailing. (Editor's note: In spring 2007, the U.S. Postal Service levied a steep rate hike on all small publications.)
I value the editorial content of HCN and don't think it would make much of a difference to me whether it was on slick recycled paper in color or on easily recycled newsprint in black-and-white.
You say the latest issue is a "special extra-long books and essay" issue. You've done book-heavy issues in the past, and I've found them ... as I found this one ... interesting. I'm less comfortable about the essay focus being a "special" one since most of your best stuff tends to be essays. I'd hate to see those appear only in "special" issues.
What happened to the usual "who stopped by" stuff on the inside cover? I don't know any of the people HCN mentions and am not likely ever to meet them. But I read "Dear Friends" straight off every time. I suspect keeping that little section, which reinforced the notion that HCN staff and readers are a little bit outside-the-box kind of folks, members of a single slightly off-beat tribe, so to speak, is a good idea. (Editor's note: We think so, too. You can find "Dear Friends" in each issue alongside our Research Fund acknowledgements. Feature-length essays will also continue to be a regular part of our content mix.)