Health-and-fitness people tend to be rah-rah enthusiastic sorts — folks like us prefer sloth, booze, and cynicism — and so it's not particularly surprising that Rodale CEO Steve Murphy sent a 10-paragraph, 800-word internal memo congratulating his staff on the company's eight finalists for this year's National Magazine Awards. Still, even so, the hyperbole is a bit, well, over the top:
Rodale received a total of eight nominations for the 2006 National Magazine Awards - the highest editorial honor for magazines. Let me put that number in perspective for you. Cond Nast (with its perennial multi-award winning New Yorker) garnered 24 nominations, Time Inc. received nine, and Rodale came in with eight - way ahead of the rest of the pack. [Ed. note: If that pack doesn't include The Atlantic, which also holds eight finalist positions, or that Virginia Review, which got six.]...
So, it's a sweep. If this were the Oscars it would be "Lord of the Rings" time.... This is a great moment for Rodale.... We're proud of and proud for all of you.
Our tipster wondered, "How will he top the hyperbole should one of the magazines actually win one?" It's an excellent question. Maybe he doesn't expect to win and so figured he'd get it all out now?
Win or not, the full memo, with all its Pennsylvanian enthusiasm, is after the jump.
Years ago, I was having lunch with a book agent and a seasoned editor who was my boss and mentor. The agent was pitching us a new fiction series. With great enthusiasm he waxed poetic on the dimensions of the market that this great series would appeal to and its potential sales. At the end of the meal, he placed his espresso cup in its saucer, looked up to us with a winning smile and asked: "So what would you pay for a property like this?" My boss smiled gently back and replied in her mellifluous Boston Brahmin voice: "I haven't the faintest idea. My practice is to read the book first." I've learned that lesson time and again. In the music world, it is often said of a record's potential — it's either in the grooves or it isn't. I'm sure there's a similar dictum for the movie biz.
We have succeeded on so many dimensions over the last several years — strategy, marketing, sales, operations and more. Without our terrific teams putting their shoulders to those wheels, bringing our properties to our readers and advertisers, there would be little success to speak of. Yet, as we know, the beginning of this era of Rodale's regeneration began with a vigorous emphasis on the importance of creating innovative world-class editorial. This has been a constant for us, and so much of our success has generated from that premise — there would have been no South Beach Diet without the creative talent of our book editorial team, and looking forward, our growing and future success online is largely dependent on the creativity of our online editorial team.
Yesterday, with the announcement of the National Magazine Awards, we received clear validation for our belief that success starts with great editorial, and our notion that we have a team that indeed creates world-class editorial products has been established for the record with the entire publishing community.
Rodale received a total of eight nominations for the 2006 National Magazine Awards — the highest editorial honor for magazines. Let me put that number in perspective for you. Cond Nast (with its perennial multi-award winning New Yorker) garnered 24 nominations, Time Inc. received nine, and Rodale came in with eight — way ahead of the rest of the pack. Obviously, the two companies above us have a much bigger portfolio. Receiving eight awards with a magazine group of our size is truly amazing. I'm also thrilled that while we are working on two magazine launches, each of these five titles — Men's Health, Prevention, Runner's World, Bicycling and Backpacker — received a nomination — three of them for the highest honor, General Excellence.
So, it's a sweep. If this were the Oscars it would be "Lord of the Rings" time.
Our sports titles, led by David Willey, Jonathan Dorn and Steve Madden, pulled off a "hat trick" with all three winning nominations: Runner's World and Backpacker for General Excellence; Backpacker with a second nomination for Magazine Section; and Bicycling with a nomination in the Leisure Interest category.
Dave Zinczenko and the Men's Health team received, as I mentioned, three nominations: one in the Magazine Section category for its front-of-book section Malegrams; one in the Leisure Interest category for its special section Play Hard for Life; and one in Personal Service for a three-part series, Death Threats; Part One — an article written by our own Bill Phillips, "Hunting My Father's Killer," which I highly recommend that you all take a moment to read.
And Prevention has been nominated for its first General Excellence award in its history. What great recognition for Rosemary Ellis and the Prevention team.
I've often said it's about the edit...and as we all know, the edit comes from talent. So, again, here's to Dave Zinczenko, Rosemary Ellis, David Willey, Steve Madden, Jonathan Dorn and their incredibly talented teams. All of us at Rodale thank you for your dedication, for your unwavering high standards of editorial integrity, and for your consistently imaginative solutions to the challenges of maintaining and earning the trust of our readership.
This is a great moment for Rodale. For those of you who may not know, nominations are awarded by a tough jury of best-in-class editorial peers. So unlike the Grammys, and unlike the Oscars, there is no room for lobbying or spin. In other words, our magazines won these awards, and beat out the competition the old-fashioned way (and in a manner that my boss of years ago would have approved): Our magazines won because they were read.
We're proud of and proud for all of you.
All the best,