In our September 1 issue, we celebrated our 40th anniversary. Did you see it? There was lots of cool information from the past four decades. If you missed it, you can read it on our website at www.americanwaymag.com. But if you did catch it, you might remember reading that we have been featuring some version of Celebrated Weekend, our cover story in which celebrities talk about their favorite places in a particular city, for over 10 years. That means we’ve run more than 300 of these stories!
One of the most common complaints about this kind of article is that the celebrities tend to stay in the same places, which tend to be very expensive. We couldn’t agree more, and that’s why a few years ago we added a sidebar called We Said that gives you some lesser-known and less expensive — but equally wonderful — places to check out.
But now we think it’s time to revisit this story altogether. Ten years is a long time to do anything. Just ask Mark Seal, who has done 90 percent of these interviews over the past decade. And the interview and writing of the story are probably the easiest parts! He has spent untold hours wooing publicists, trying to convince them that our cover story is what their star should devote his or her time to. Once that’s established, he then has to find a city the celebrity knows and that we haven’t done recently! It’s a huge, complicated puzzle that Mark has dedicated much of his career (and hair) to.
Another reason to revisit whether Celebrated Weekend should stay or go is that there are so many other (and even better) ways we could provide you with valuable travel information.
That said, we wouldn’t stop putting celebrities on our covers. We would just let them tell stories about things that interest them rather than making their interview fit our format. And in place of Celebrated Weekend, we’d give you a travel story that, for instance, focuses on great inexpensive finds, local secrets, or the ultimate itinerary for a given city.
And that’s where you come in. The first question is, would you be sad to no longer be able to get a celebrity’s recommendations? And if you’re okay with Celebrated Weekend going away, what sort of travel story would you like to see in its place? What information would you like us to go out and find for you?
I hope you’ll think about this and then e-mail me your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org. Just like when we added Sudoku, we care what our readers think. And because we are so close, perspective-wise, to what we publish every two weeks, it’s always good to get your opinion.
Next month, you’ll get another chance to help shape the magazine. The Road Warrior entries are in, and they’re being judged as you read this. But this year we’re going to do something a little different. You and the people seated all around you get to choose who the winners are! We’re going to narrow it down to five finalists, and then, beginning October 15, you’ll head to our website, read about them, and vote for who should be awarded first, second, and third place.
I’ll give you more information next month (as well as a reminder), but mark that date in your PDA now! And then get busy writing that e-mail about whether Celebrated Weekend should stay or go (as well as what should replace it). This is your chance to be heard!
SHERRI GULCZYNSKI BURNS