What's Next

To keep a reader engaged, the most colorful language pales next to a simple situation that compels the mind to wonder, “What’s next?”



Editor Rick Broussard

Photo by John Hession

We at New Hampshire Magazine are storytellers. We work in the medium of truth, but with different rules than our colleagues in the world of serious journalism. Rather than frontloading a story with who, what, when and where, we dig into the “why.” When the story calls for it, we might keep the mind guessing and then tie things up at the end.

So, here’s a twisteroo for you to contemplate.

Should you join me here on my Editor’s Note page next month you’ll be holding in your hands the first issue of the newly redesigned New Hampshire Magazine.

Now, the fact is that we redesign all the time, but usually in small ways: playing with fonts, swapping out a regular department, rethinking the flow of a page. Minor adjustments over time can become significant changes over a matter of years, but we haven’t altered the basic structure of the magazine in at least a decade.

Why now?  Because we want to be better storytellers.

Forgive me for getting technical, but magazines are essentially just delivery systems for information. They are structured to lure a reader’s eyes to the cover, then provide enough enticements to get the reader to pick the magazine up and open it. Once inside, the “system” continues with some highly evolved techniques for keeping readers interested and flipping pages until they either decide to purchase it (assuming they saw it at a store) or simply relax and read it (if, for example, they found it on a coffee table or in a pile of mail).

If we’ve done our job well, the average reader will not only meander through the entire magazine, read quite a bit (or all) of it and notice the variety of the ads within it, but will then hand it off to a friend, saying, “You should really take a look at this.”

For the past decade or two, we’ve been using a “delivery system” that’s tried and true. In fact, it’s pretty similar to the format of the first magazine that my byline ever appeared in: Atlanta Magazine’s Sept. 1984 issue. My article even appeared in a section titled UpFront (sound familiar?). Magazine design changes slowly, but it does change, and where a certain rote consistency was once desired and expected, today’s media consumers enjoy a bit more randomization and surprise.

I won’t give away too much, but the redesign will continue to provide familiar landmarks like our departments on food, travel and shopping. Meanwhile it will allow for flexibility and spontaneity and offer a chance for us to respond to some long-standing reader requests for more engaging photos of the state they (and we) find so fascinating.

The result will require more work, but it will allow for more creative storytelling.

This major redesign has taken months of planning and will take months more as we refine things, but we can’t wait to unveil it next month, May 2016. 

Because, just like you, we really want to know what’s next.

More edit notes from editor Rick Broussard

Gods and Heroes

The favorite restaurant of my young family (nearly 30 years ago) was the Capital City Diner on South Main Street in Concord. It was fun, served kid-friendly food, and the owner, according to his own staff, was cool.

Get Together

Between the time I write this and the time you read it, my wife and I will both stand on stage and thank some people after receiving a joint lifetime achievement award. Among those I thank will be you.

Down in Smoke

While gathering stories for our feature on cannabis in NH, one source suggested I find someone whose life had been ruined by pot. I was having no luck when someone I once knew well came to mind.

My Daniel Webster(s)

Shakespeare wrote, “What’s past is prologue.” The past is also what we take for granted. Maybe that’s why history is often so unexplored and overlooked, even when it’s your own family history.

Magical Thinking

My first encounter with a “health food store” was back in the 1960s. They sold a mysterious, chewy cereal called “granola” and made cups of dark yerba mate tea that smelled like a mystical potion.
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