Publisher's Letter

Kudos to the Award-Winning Rowland Team

By Brian Rowland, Publisher

Earlier this summer, we were notified by the Florida Magazine Association that we had won five “Charlie” awards, which recognize excellence in the magazine industry.

Three of those awards are for creative writing, including the cover story for the April/May issue of Emerald Coast Magazine about Robert and Daryl Davis, the creators of Seaside.

The other writing awards are for two Tallahassee Magazine stories — one on Caboodle Ranch, a refuge for abandoned and stray cats, and the other a humorous tale about the follies of finding a squirrel in the toilet.

Our newest publishing title, 850 — The Business Magazine of Northwest Florida, has won the other two awards — for Best Written and Best Overall magazine in our circulation category. We will learn on Aug. 7 whether the winning entries took home gold, silver or bronze, and we’ll share the results with you in our next issue.

On the heels of our FMA honors, we recently were notified that we are now board-certified members of the Florida Press Association.

Words cannot adequately express to you how excited and happy I am for our 30-plus member staff of publishing professionals. Rowland Publishing plays in a very big arena of magazine publishing in Florida. Without the staff’s expertise, focus and dedication to excellence, this kind of recognition and acknowledgement would never be possible.

Our editorial and photographic team, with eight decades of combined journalistic experience, works diligently to craft the many stories for each issue, hopefully challenging your intellect and enlightening you about new ideas, people and programs. They maintain high professional standards and don’t allow our titles to cross the line by patronizing our advertisers. We know our editorial mission and have a very strong sense of our identity in each marketplace we serve.

Look at the work of our creative and design team and you will immediately notice the difference between a Rowland Publishing product and any other publication in the region. While the average reader will notice the difference, most will probably be unable to define the many subtle elements that separate us far and away from all the others. Publication and ad designers make the difference, building very good ads and producing an attractive publication that readers are anxious to pick up and begin reading.

When we bring these two departments together toward the end of a publishing cycle — when the imagery, the words and the design elements come together — music happens.

What you, the reader, get is unique and special. And that is what separates us from the pack.

The sales team, where I began my career, consists of nine road warriors who hit the street each day and tell our story to the lifeblood of every publication — the advertising community. They walk a difficult road, especially these days when dollars are scarce. But they sell with integrity, maintaining that clear line between advertising and editorial. We could double our sales each issue if we ran “puff” stories about advertisers, as we are asked to do almost every day. But while that may generate short-term gain, it will be a long-term loss in this world of professional publishing.

Simply put, advertisers cannot buy stories with their advertising dollars. This may be the business model of others, but we feel that’s the easy way. We expect an advertiser to advertise based on the quality of our publications and because we are straightforward about how many of our magazines are delivered directly into homes (and into the hands of consumers) in the region. That is why we have advertisers such as Publix, IBM, SunTrust, Wachovia, St. Joe, Gulf Power, Mercedes Benz, Porsche, BB&T, Florida Telecommunications Relay, Anheuser Busch and other top-shelf advertisers along the Emerald Coast.

Our management and support teams in administration and finance help keep our publications on schedule and supported, each and every day. We bring every publication out on time. We pay every one of our bills on time. We do business the way it should be done all the time. And we push our people to excellence each day.

These awards are earned recognition from the top national professionals in our industry. Today I stand in the shadow behind my team, humbled by their drive, intelligence and quest for making each publication coming out the door just one notch better than the last.

The team at Rowland Publishing is No. 1 in my book, and I trust, in yours.