I’ve always felt that there is something truly humorous about the big-and-bold way in which magazines celebrate their anniversaries. From an editor’s perspective the theory behind an anniversary issue is not too hard to understand: We’ve fended off caffeine-induced diabetic comas during the wee hours of the morning, stress-related heart attacks on deadline, and the delicate balancing act known as the reader-advertiser tightrope upon final distribution … clearly, there is a lot to celebrate.
But from an outsider’s perspective, how is the anniversary message interpreted? “Hey, look at us … we survived another five years.” Whoopty doo.
In a niche market more than any other publishing field, anniversaries, indeed outright survival, are dependent upon the industry the magazine serves. If you’re not connected with the decision makers, you’ve got no authority. If you’re not in tune with the industry, you serve no purpose. And if you’re not relevant, you’re dead. You just can’t survive without the industry you serve.
It’s that knowledge that has made it possible for Boating Industry magazine to reach its 80th anniversary and for our editorial team package together an incredible group of articles for this, our humble approach to an anniversary issue. Yeah, we chose to celebrate our anniversary in these pages, but we also chose to do so while remaining true to our mission: to provide you with actionable content.
It would have been easy to showcase some past covers of the magazine or talk about how great we’ve been over the years. The real success story for Boating Industry, however, is found in this return to its roots.
Not many people realize that Boating Industry, then Boating Business, was launched in June of 1929, just four months prior to the beginning of The Great Depression. It had five issues under its belt before the stock market collapsed. And do you want to know what the editorial team did differently from that point forward? Absolutely nothing.
Issue after issue after issue was devoted to providing solutions to its readers. That was true before the collapse, and it was true after. Readers and advertisers alike turned to the magazine for its expertise, the wisdom it shared and the authority it commanded.
The same devotion is indicative of Boating Industry today, as well. Nowhere is that more clear than right here in the pages of our anniversary issue. Rather than focus on what we perceive to be our successes, we’ve looked outward to find others who have celebrated milestone anniversaries. We looked for their stories, how they have endured, and what you might be able to learn from them.
Those are the stories that matter. And we’re in the business of bringing you the news, the ideas, the best practices and the solutions that matter. Because of this approach, Boating Business did not blink nor falter during The Great Depression. And it’s that same approach that will help us endure this most recent downturn.
So as much as this is our anniversary, it is yours, as well, because we couldn’t have done it without you: Happy 80th anniversary.