LONG TIME, NO COLUMN, RIGHT? Let's just say that 2006 was an eventful year for all of us at 5280. We moved to a new office, increased our annual publishing schedule from nine issues to 12, and tried to do more than simply keep up with another year of record-breaking growth.
In a way, I think, 5280's evolution reflects what's been going on in and around Denver itself. A decade-long campaign of building—complete with museums, libraries, stadiums, transit systems, and even entirely new neighborhoods—has transformed not just the city's landscape, but its psyche as well. When you see Denver confidently challenging New York to host the Democratic National Convention, you know that lingering cowtown image at last has been put to rest. Instead of anxiously following the lead of the coasts, Denver and Colorado have become bellwethers for the social and political directions of the country.
And as the city matured it became clear that simply being a good magazine wouldn't be good enough for our readers for very long. So three years ago, I decided to take 5280's financial success and reinvest it in creating a great magazine, one that would be the equal of any city magazine in the country; I made moves that some of my publishing peers would view as insane. While most other print media outlets have slashed staff and coverage, since the start of 2004 I've tripled the size of our editorial staff, bringing on journalists from national titles like GQ, Red Herring, Sports Illustrated, and Skiing, as well as some of the very best city magazines. At the same time, I doubled the budget for our freelance writers, photographers, and illustrators. All told, we've increased our total annual editorial expenditures by nearly $1 million. It's an investment in the business, sure, but I believe it's necessary in order to fulfill 5280's journalistic commitments to you.
Our expanded resources and new staff provide the talent necessary to cover Denver in a way you can't get anywhere else. Peruse any recent issue of 5280 and you'll find a range of articles that are every bit as diverse and compelling as the city we call home. Whether it's our service packages, like the November I-70 Survival Guide, which we hope you're finding useful on your trips to the mountains, or our investigative journalism, like the recent piece exposing the illegal treatment of Colorado's returning war veterans, or our profiles of local newsmakers, such as the one in this issue about CU professor and self-appointed JonBenét Ramsey sleuth, Michael Tracey, our aim is to produce the thoughtful, stylish, and, above all, intelligent magazine that you deserve.
We have a ways to go before we reach our ultimate goal, but it's encouraging to see that you are responding. In the last three years, 5280's paid subscriptions have grown by more than 50 percent, while the number of magazines we sell on the newsstand—already strong for a city of Denver's size—has increased by a similar amount, catapulting 5280 into the stratosphere of regional magazines. Though Denver is the nation's 22nd largest media market, only five other monthly city magazines sell more copies on the newsstand.
I recognize that this is your way of investing in us, and it too is paying off. Thanks to our growing readership and our astute advertisers, we've been able to double our ad revenue since 2003, which in turn allows us to continue and expand our investment in the magazine. This is what the suits call a "win-win." (As an aside to my fellow publishers: Despite Wall Street's insistence to the contrary, good journalism can be good business.)
We're proud of the new 5280, and we're honored by the ever-growing number of Denverites who have made us a part of their lives. Thank you. We'll be working hard in 2007 to live up to your trust.
Daniel Brogan is 5280's editor and publisher.