Michel: Turning 40

Giving a reflection of the city in each issue
Michel: Turning 40

In talking with former Madison Magazine editors about the enormous privilege it is to lead this award-winning publication, we laughed when we discovered we had the same thought when stepping into the editor role: I don’t want to screw this up! Sure, it’s exciting and fun to edit this magazine and put your own stamp on it. But the pressure to maintain the quality honed over the past 40 years can be daunting. It’s that legacy, however, that has motivated us to stay in sync with you, our readers, and give you a reflection of our city in every issue.

This 40th anniversary edition allows us to see how far this city-regional magazine has come since 1978, when James and Gail Selk bought Madison Select and dropped “Select” from the name. What they created was an influential vehicle for all things local. Two of our editors, Andrea Behling and Joel Patenaude, spent many weeks reviewing past issues and interviewing key people who have helped shape Madison Magazine over the years and contributed in significant ways. Their research unearthed so much of our vital history that we opted to forego a second feature story in favor of publishing a comprehensive, robust package of stories.

Paging through it should trigger some fond memories of Madison’s past. We revisit trends in food and fashion and highlight topics that were hallmarks of top editors: Doug Moe’s true crime stories, the late Brian Howell’s business and environmental coverage, Brennan Nardi’s emphasis on women and diversity. I wish we had more space to capture the tone and rich storytelling techniques of each era. The next best thing is to try to build on that tradition by bringing you strong narratives each month through columnists including John Roach and Neil Heinen, and through award-winning writers like Maggie Ginsberg, Aaron R. Conklin and many others. And I can’t forget Tim Burton, our art director who dazzles us with his work and has won numerous awards (along with his staff) for design.

I hope after reading this very special issue, you will see how Madison Magazine over the past four decades has marked the times in which we live, and how we continue to capture our city and region each month through words and images. Most of all, I hope you see a reflection of yourselves in each issue. That would be our anniversary gift to you.

Karen Lincoln Michel is interim publisher and editor-in-chief at Madison Magazine.