Interesting story on a favorite of mine: Texas Monthly magazine.
Smith entered as editor with a list of changes that remain his focus today, including a return to long-form public interest, investigative and political journalism and a mission to reach out to long-ignored parts of the state.
"The most important thing was to say I'm not going to take the intelligence or the attention span of our readers for granted," Smith said. "We're going to give them serious stuff, make them think, challenge them and provoke them. Not reinforce their world view, but challenge it."
But when Smith started to push his readership, his readership pushed back, with some longtime readers and fans of former editors Greg Curtis and Bill Broyles Jr. calling for his excommunication.
"This idea that Evan wasn't up to it because he was a New Yorker, I hated it," said Julia Smith, Evan's wife. "Evan handled it much better than I did. I wanted to hunt those people down and hurt them."
Among staff, criticism was also high.
"I was among those when he became editor who had anxiety, because he basically changed my job description. He wanted me editing less and writing more," said senior executive editor Paul Burka, whose piece on Tom DeLay is the magazine's current cover story. "At the start, I wasn't sure that that was a good thing, but Evan was very persuasive about it."
Smith pointed to the success of a recent cover story on Lakewood Church Pastor Joel Osteen — the third-best selling issue in the history of the magazine — as a piece that spoke to both longtime readers and an underrepresented audience.
"I thought we need to do a big piece that is going to reach out to a community we probably haven't been writing about very much, or writing to," Smith said. "What I was so proud of was the story was great, and it sold, and it really reached people.
I tend to sift through the mag at the bookstore each month, picking up a copy if there's a longform story or two of interest. I'll second the idea that the magazine has been a welcome improvement to its good ol' days lately. Of course, I also made a point to pick up the issue with Joel on the cover. It's a great article that isn't purely a fluff peice , but nor is it a hit peice.