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Adventure Journal Quarterly: A New Title Born From The Outdoor Dreams Of One Man & From The Labyrinth Of The Web…To At Last Breathe In Print – The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Steve Casimiro, Founder, Adventure Journal Quarterly

December 18, 2015

“And how not to burn out at it, if you’re small, just one or two people, how do you keep it fresh? I think that is one of the big challenges with digital media. It reminds me of going to a sushi place, where they have these little rivers and they do their California rolls and put them on floating plates and you sort of grab the little bites as they go by; to me digital media often feels like that. It’s just not sustaining from a reader’s standpoint. And that was a lot of the impetus for wanting to do print, because the relationship between the reader and the words is different. It feels like it sates you and fills you up better.” Steve Casimiro

aj1001-comp What do you do when you have 30 years of experience in outdoor magazines and you’ve been creating a successful online publication for six years, but you feel the need to allow that experience to develop in a more tactile and tangible way than the web? Why, you create a magazine of course.

In the spring of 2016, the online publication Adventure Journal will have a print component, Adventure Journal Quarterly. And in the words of founder, publisher and editor, Steve Casimiro, it’s something that was planned from the beginning, even before the first pixel was put into place. Steve added in a newsletter to his web audience that it needs no batteries and no internet connection. It won’t bug you to check your email or ask you to like it. It’s print, baby.

I spoke with Steve recently and we talked about the upcoming magazine that will bring Adventure Journal onto newsstands. Having worked extensively in print for most of his career, from Powder magazine to National Geographic Adventure, Steve knows and believes in the power and celebration of print. And with his business model of pre-selling issues until the actual magazine comes out, he can see the potential success already, having a robust subscription base almost immediately. And as an avid outdoor enthusiast himself, he’s certainly the man to bring adventure to a journal on a quarterly basis.

So, I hope you enjoy this entrepreneurial approach to magazine making from a man who has as much faith in and passion for the printed word as he does for the great outdoors he eloquently creates about. And now the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Steve Casimiro, Founder, Adventure Journal Quarterly.

But first, the sound-bites:

casimiro portrait On why he had always intended for Adventure Journal to be in print and not just online: The idea for the magazine, Adventure Journal Quarterly, goes back a couple of decades. Like so many editors, I have a vision of what I want XYZ magazine to look like. I was the editor at Powder magazine and it was my job to bring my vision to that magazine, so terrific, I did that, and I also did it when we launched Bike magazine. My teams have always been passionate about the outdoors and adventure. And it’s something that my whole life has really revolved around since then. And my roots are in print. I started in newspapers, and I’ve been in print one way or another for about 30 years. So, it’s what I know. But the financial barriers to doing print, way back when I was originally thinking about this, were obviously too high.

On whether the future of magazine launching is being digital-only first and then discovering or coming to print later: I think the model is fantastic. This idea of building an audience and proving the concept through your lowest cost barrier; it’s just pragmatic, right? It makes sense. I was looking at print back in 2009; I’ve been looking at it all along. I had done all sorts of business plans before the Internet and during the early days, but the costs were just exorbitant. Even if you were to launch with a website and print at the same time, just trying to build your audience and sell; how were you going to do that?

On that “aha” moment that convinced him he could actually do the magazine: There wasn’t so much just a single “aha” moment because these are ideas that have been evolving for my entire career. I love being outside; I love having adventures; I love doing long, mountain bike rides and long trail runs and going Backcountry skiing; I love it for the pure physicality of it. Just the feeling that you get from these experiences, like Powder Skiing; on a deep powder day that physical sensation, there’s just nothing else like it.

On the biggest challenge or stumbling block that he’s had to face: The biggest challenge by far is getting enough appropriately well-written stories a day to get the traffic, to get the readers, to be able to get enough advertising to make a living. My guess is that most publishers are dealing with that in one form or another. All of the people that I know who are with relatively small shops like mine are struggling with it and the bigger ones are too, because how much is enough? And what’s the right amount and the right stories, especially if you have a relatively narrow focus, such as you’re just covering surfing or mountain biking?

On whether there’s a difference in seeing one’s name in print compared to seeing one’s name credited in digital: Well, anybody can post anything these days, right? What is the value of that? To see your name in a Tweet; well, everybody is a publisher now and everyone is a photographer. By virtue of that, it inevitably diminishes the value. If anybody can do it with one click; what is the value of that? In print though, magazines cost money to make; they cost a lot of money and once they’re done that’s it. It’s finite; it’s never going to be changed. So, that’s a luxury and a leery, right? But there is a specialness built into it.

On whether a high cover price and curated content only available in the printed magazine and not on its website is the only way for print magazines to survive into the future: I think it’s one way. It really depends on your scale. I think before it closed National Geographic Adventure had 675,000 in circulation. So that’s huge. If AJ Quarterly has 20 to 30,000, I think that’s very realistic, based on other similar quarterlies like Surfer’s Journal, which is now a bimonthly. I believe the publishing model for large circulation magazines is just going to be very tricky going forward. I think staying focused and well-connected to the reader and giving and asking the readers to take a stake in it; I think that’s the future of publishing.

On anything else he’d like to add: One thing that I’d like to say is what I keep trying to tell myself basically, and encouraging myself with is, one of the mistakes that I think magazines make and businesses in general is trying to be everything to everybody and chase after every possible dollar and not be willing to say, this is what we are; we’re going to be great for some people and we won’t be the thing for others, and being comfortable with that.

On what motivates him to get out of bed in the mornings: Taking my daughter to school. (Laughs) But seriously, I hate to say this because it really does sound pretentious, but I feel like I have a mission with Adventure Journal. Adventure Journal though to me feels like the most important and the best thing that I’ve ever done.

On what keeps him up at night: Just that there are too many things that I need to do myself around Adventure Journal. Aside from the occasional stabs of anxiety, where I just go, oh my, what have I done? (Laughs) Generally I don’t worry about anything. I have faith. What’s the worst that’s going to happen? The way that I’ve built it, it’s not going to lose life. If I didn’t sell a single copy, I wouldn’t lose money with the first issue. I could not be successful, but I’m not going to lose my shirt with it either. And I do have faith that it’s going to be successful. Already it is, based on two weeks of pre-selling.

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ conversation with Steve Casimiro, Founder, Adventure Journal Quarterly.

Samir Husni: You started Adventure Journal online in 2009, but you’ve said that it was always your intention to be in print. Why?

15149_1290432424914_1353335816_30839647_5825042_n Steve Casimiro: The idea for the magazine, Adventure Journal Quarterly, goes back a couple of decades. Like so many editors, I have a vision of what I want XYZ magazine to look like. I was the editor at Powder magazine and it was my job to bring my vision to that magazine, so terrific, I did that, and I also did it when we launched Bike magazine. My teams have always been passionate about the outdoors and adventure. And it’s something that my whole life has really revolved around since then.

So, I’ve really been a multi-sport, multi-adventure oriented person and so even as I was working at Ski magazine and Bike magazine, I’ve always wanted to share what I found out there and explore what I found out there through a broader outdoor magazine. So, I’ve wanted to do this for a long time. And of course, as a typical editor, I thought I could do it better and I had a different take on it. So, the seeds have always been there.

And my roots are in print. I started in newspapers, and I’ve been in print one way or another for about 30 years. So, it’s what I know. But the financial barriers to doing print, way back when I was originally thinking about this, were obviously too high.

In 2008, the folks that I was working with at National Geographic Adventure asked me to do some blogging, and I was kind of cynical about blogging. My thoughts were, really? But I said OK and then I found out right away that I loved it. I loved the direct interaction with readers. And of course with a magazine, if you really ticked somebody off, you mostly never heard from them. I mean you might sometimes get a few letters to the editor, but before the Internet, you never really heard from anybody. So, that loop back and forth, and I sort of mocked this idea in conversations with readers, but then I realized that was really what was going on there.

But I always felt like, and this was even before the boon in social media and Smartphones; I always felt that there was something radically different about the headspace of reading on a screen. It’s just different. It’s more distracting; I think the nature of electronics on its own changes how you view the words; forget about how your body actually reads something on paper versus an electronic device. I think the fact that somehow it’s kind of alive and dynamic changes how you feel about it.

And I always felt with any story, but especially the more thoughtful pieces, the more profuse and emotional pieces, you want to strip away the distractions and be able to immerse yourself, like when you get lost in a really good book, a page-turner.

And even in 2009, I felt like that experience was better delivered and better expressed in print. And of course, as time has gone on, and we’re all carrying around phones and we’re consuming more media online, I think those words of magnitude have never been truer.

Samir Husni: One of the things that you’ve said is that you used the web; you used online to build both the readership and the advertising. Did that work as well as you expected it to? You’ve now been offering subscriptions to the print edition, Adventure Journal Quarterly, for two weeks and you’re limiting the ads to 12 pages out of 124. Is this the future trend of launching magazines, because we’ve seen others doing it; Tablet magazine came about the same way and just a lot of digital-only entities lately are either discovering print or coming to print; is this the future of magazine launching?

Steve Casimiro: I think the model is fantastic. This idea of building an audience and proving the concept through your lowest cost barrier; it’s just pragmatic, right? It makes sense. I was looking at print back in 2009; I’ve been looking at it all along. I had done all sorts of business plans before the Internet and during the early days, but the costs were just exorbitant. Even if you were to launch with a website and print at the same time, just trying to build your audience and sell; how were you going to do that?

A magazine, especially one that is about exploring a culture or a subculture, really relies on the emotional and conceptual connection with the reader. They have to get it, especially when it’s a culture made up of enthusiasts, which one of the things that’s interesting about Adventure Journal is that in the outdoor space, traditionally you had a pretty hardcore focus.

Enthusiast magazines, like the ones that I was at, Powder and Bike, were truly enthusiast. And then you had more general interest ones like National Geographic Adventure and Outside magazine. The enthusiast folks tend to have a lot of credibility with the hardest core outdoor people and the broader ones, because of the broader audience, tended not to.

And what I tried to do with Adventure Journal and why I think it’s been successful is that we’re able to cover a lot of different topics and a lot of different sports, from environmental stuff to personal experiences and endurance sports like Ultra Running.

And the audience, according to a reader’s survey, is tremendously active and they’re not just armchair adventurers; they’re people who are actually doing it. And the reason is that there’s this curiosity about the world and this open-heartedness about it to see where adventure might take you is at the heart of what Adventure Journal is all about.

So, for any kind of publication that resonates with the reader around something that’s very defiant, that’s something that’s critically important, and digital lets you test that. It lets you test it with just some elbow grease. And when you can have a website up in 10 minutes for about $8; it doesn’t really take that much to test it. In 2009 if someone had handed me one or two million dollars, or whatever it would take to start this magazine from scratch, I would have done it exactly the same way. It reduces your risk and if you do well it builds a reader loyalty and a reader comfort.

You asked me about expectations; it’s been really difficult for me to know what essentially I have with this. On the one hand, Adventure Journal has around 300,000 uniques per month and that’s a lot of people. And the social media reach is around 200,000, so for any given blast that I put out there, that’s a lot of people.

On the other hand, Adventure Journal has never really had any kind of commerce platform; we’ve sold a few prints here and there, but people aren’t used to spending money with it. People are also, despite the rise of crowdfunding, just not used to subscribing to a publication that doesn’t technically exist yet, that hasn’t been produced.

There are a lot of variables there and a lot of uncertainty. I put it out there and I thought are we going to get everybody I know and that’s it? (Laughs) But the response was actually ahead of my expectations. When it actually comes out in late March or early April, I think things should accelerate fairly dramatically, hopefully exponentially, but at this point I’m really excited. There seems to be a tremendous amount of good will in the relationships with Adventure Journal and people are eager to see something like this because the idea is different from anything that’s out there.

Samir Husni: When you came up with the idea for Adventure Journal; at that moment of conception, what was the precise “aha” moment that convinced you it could be done?

Steve Casimiro: There wasn’t so much just a single “aha” moment because these are ideas that have been evolving for my entire career. I love being outside; I love having adventures; I love doing long, mountain bike rides and long trail runs and going Backcountry skiing; I love it for the pure physicality of it. Just the feeling that you get from these experiences, like Powder Skiing; on a deep powder day that physical sensation, there’s just nothing else like it.

But what I’ve tried to do through my whole career is explore the emotional and intellectual angle of that, such as what does it feel like, not just physically, but what does it do to your spirit and your heart and your head as you go through these experiences and you have doubts and fears and you overcome them?

So, these are all of the things that I have wrestled with and shared. And my commitment to wanting to do this has really come through my work with National Geographic Adventure, which is a fantastic magazine that still lives online, but the print version was shut down in 2009. NGA was a terrific book; John Rasmus was the editor and he’s a brilliant guy and has guided a number of magazines, Outside, Men’s Journal and then launching NGA, but it was always by the numbers. And because it was a part of a big organization and was expected to produce, it needed to have a very large circulation and so it relied on traditional ideas about package stories, etc. And it did a lot of great reporting, but I’m more interested in the emotional and intellectual and what these experiences mean.

Part of my excitement about blogging in 2008 and before Adventure Journal became what it is today was having a place where I could test those ideas and see if people really wanted to read that kind of stuff. Do people really want to hear about it?

For example, I wrote this piece about cleaning out my garage. I was doing a year purge and getting rid of things that we no longer needed, stuff that we’d had when my kids were little and I wrote this piece about finding all of these things. I found things we’d bought my daughter when we used to take her surfing when she was very little, maybe three or four years old. And so what are those feelings that come out when you come across things that reflect your life and your children growing up; how do you deal with those feelings?

Most commercial outdoor magazines don’t want those kinds of stories. They’re not interested in that because they’re not easily pleated or they don’t really work as a newsstand blurb or a cover graphic.

In 2009, NGA was struggling and everything was getting bad with the economy and advertising was going away; it was a really tough time. So, you could really see the writing on the wall in 2009. I could see National Geographic pulling the plug on NGA and of course, I asked myself what was I going to do next?

At that point, I was maybe doing one post a day on Adventure Journal and I started thinking that maybe that was the next step. People seemed to like it. I didn’t know how everything was going to work, but I knew the editorial and I was getting resonance and traction from the editorial.

Samir Husni: Since you started the blog in 2009; what has been your biggest challenge or stumbling block and how have you been able to overcome it?

IMG_7976 Steve Casimiro: The biggest challenge by far is getting enough appropriately well-written stories a day to get the traffic, to get the readers, to be able to get enough advertising to make a living. My guess is that most publishers are dealing with that in one form or another. All of the people that I know who are with relatively small shops like mine are struggling with it and the bigger ones are too, because how much is enough? And what’s the right amount and the right stories, especially if you have a relatively narrow focus, such as you’re just covering surfing or mountain biking? At what point are you doing so many stories that your editorial has been sliced so thin that it doesn’t have the kind of impact it once did?

If you’re model is based on six or seven stories a day and you cover one sport; at what point do people say, you know what, that’s just not that interesting? So, I think that’s a challenge.

And also how not to burn out at it, if you’re small, just one or two people, how do you keep it fresh? I think that is one of the big challenges with digital media. It reminds me of going to a sushi place, where they have these little rivers and they do their California rolls and put them on floating plates and you sort of grab the little bites as they go by; to me digital media often feels like that. It’s just not sustaining from a reader’s standpoint.

And that was a lot of the impetus for wanting to do print, because the relationship between the reader and the words is different. It feels like it sates you and fills you up better. And what I’ve found is that the really ambitious pieces that I’ve done; the longer pieces; the deeper and more nuanced pieces, they just don’t get the number of readers that they deserve. To be blunt, they don’t pay for themselves financially.

And they also don’t pay for themselves emotionally and creatively, because the people that I’m working with, the writers and the photographers; nobody is getting rich in our world. People are doing this because they’re super passionate about it. They love it and so they’re really invested in the stories that they’re writing and the photograph projects that they’re doing. And they want people to see them and sometimes the more ambitious stuff just doesn’t work online. So, I think that’s a big challenge as well.

You know when The New York Times won the Pulitzer for “Snow Fall,” for a lot of people that was an incentive for them to do something similar, the potential seemed to be there, but when you’re a small publisher trying to do that; man…(Laughs), you’re going to lose your shirt. It just doesn’t make sense financially.

Samir Husni: You’re offering so many incentives with the first issue, including for people who subscribe now, getting their names printed in the first issue of the magazine. Does that ego trip of seeing your name in print differ from seeing your name in digital?

Steve Casimiro: For me personally? Or speaking in general?

Samir Husni: For you as a magazine editor and in general for the general public.

Steve Casimiro: Well, anybody can post anything these days, right? What is the value of that? To see your name in a Tweet; well, everybody is a publisher now and everyone is a photographer. By virtue of that, it inevitably diminishes the value. If anybody can do it with one click; what is the value of that?

In print though, magazines cost money to make; they cost a lot of money and once they’re done that’s it. It’s finite; it’s never going to be changed. So, that’s a luxury and a leery, right? But there is a specialness built into it.

You may have a 5,000-plus run or a million-plus run, but still you’re not going to make any more of those. I think that brings, by its very nature, more value to the process. Nothing is forever, but there’s permanence to that. I think it’s cool to see it. To me, when I see a story in print, whether it has my byline on it or not, I know how much effort goes into that because you get one shot to do it right. You make a mistake and get a typo in a blog post, it’s easy to change. I’m always adding to it, or changing something here and there, just whatever, it’s dynamic and you can do those sorts of things.

But with print, it’s luxurious and impressive by the fact that you have to get it right the first time. And like any publisher I’m sure of the value of the magazine that I’m making. (Laughs)

I think it’s really cool that I can devote a page to and recognize the people who are helping it get off the ground. The outdoor culture is big in some ways and small in many others, especially now through social media. It feels very connected and I have readers who have been commenting about AJ for years and people who have won things from contests keep in touch with us, people who regularly share things on social media. It’s a cliché, but it feels tribal. It feels like we’ve known each other for a long time.

And the people who are subscribing; over and over again I’m seeing names that I recognize from the comments or social media or whatever. The personal connection really warms my heart; it’s a tremendous vote of confidence. And it’s absolutely true that I could not be doing this without them, so to be able to have them in some small way be recognized; I just wish that we could do more. I would like to be able to do every subscriber, but we just don’t have the space for that.

I want to recognize these folks and I want to show my appreciation, our appreciation, for them because it really means a lot. And so far I’ve reached out to every subscriber and sent them an email personally and with a lot of these guys, we end up having conversations back and forth and it really does warm you. It’s not a financial thing; this is really about wanting to share the cool stuff that we find outdoors and exploring what it means to be that person. The page with the readers names; there’s a lot behind it actually.

Samir Husni: You promised the readers in your promotional piece that the stories in the AJQ magazine will only be available in print; they will never appear online. None of the pieces will run on the dot com site. And there won‘t be a Kindle, E-Book or digital version of any kind; it’s print, baby. (Laughs)

Steve Casimiro: (Laughs too). Yes.

Samir Husni: So you’re really committing all that great content and photography and editorial that you’re creating to the magazine. If you want it, you have to buy it on the newsstand; you have to subscribe to it; you have to spend your $15 to get it. Having said that, do you think that high quarterly cover price package or curated content that’s only going to be available in print is the only way for the future of print to survive?

Steve Casimiro: I think it’s one way. It really depends on your scale. I think before it closed National Geographic Adventure had 675,000 in circulation. So that’s huge. If AJ Quarterly has 20 to 30,000, I think that’s very realistic, based on other similar quarterlies like Surfer’s Journal, which is now a bimonthly.

I believe the publishing model for large circulation magazines is just going to be very tricky going forward. I think staying focused and well-connected to the reader and giving and asking the readers to take a stake in it; I think that’s the future of publishing.

I don’t know how familiar you are with Surfer’s Journal?

Samir Husni: I am very familiar with it.

Steve Casimiro: Oh OK, well that’s really the model. I worked with Steve from Surfer’s Journal on several publications before he left to do the Journal and I learned a lot from Steve because he and Debbie both are just so generous with sharing their experience on how things have worked and not worked. Right from the get-go Steve was saying this is reader-supported publishing. And that’s my model and the model for most of these quarterlies.

And I think that is the key difference with large-scale publishing, which is one of the reasons why they’re so vulnerable to swings in the economy and to changes in taste. And the reason is because, as you know being a magazine expert, large circulation magazines are built based on selling huge advertisements and have very high ad rates because they have large circulations. And the magazine is essentially given away and is subsidized by the advertising and you do lose money at the newsstands. And the reader gets a year’s worth of the book for $12 or $15 in a tote bag or little trinkets that come with the subscription. So they don’t have the same kind of investment.

One of the things that I’ve always tried to do, in terms of writing a story or building a magazine, is build it in a way that it is irreplaceable. What difference are you making in your reader’s life? Like if you went away, would they even notice? Or would it be like, oh well, whatever? What are you doing that your competition can’t do? I think about that all of the time. What makes Adventure Journal uniquely Adventure Journal?

And along with that comes, I was about to say responsibility on the part of the reader, but the reader has no responsibility. But of you make something that is really solving a problem for them, or filling a need in their lives, they’re going to feel that connection and be willing to pay for it.

I do want to touch on one thing which is not doing crowdfunding on this. I know a number of people do through Kickstarter. And the reason I didn’t use it is that I really believe you have to give people something that they want and are willing to pay for. And that you really shouldn’t be asking for favors, if that makes sense? Crowdfunding is sort of a favor. Crowdfunding is also so many of these amazing Kickstarter ideas that never seem to come to fruition.

I would much rather have something that I just diddled and handed to somebody, rather than ask them to support me with a donation. I even feel a bit awkward pre-selling subscriptions, but there’s just no way that this model would work if we didn’t do that. I’d rather say here’s the magazine, what do you think? I think it’s better to just do things, rather than talk about what you’re going to do.

Samir Husni: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Steve Casimiro: One thing that I’d like to say is what I keep trying to tell myself basically, and encouraging myself with is, one of the mistakes that I think magazines make and businesses in general is trying to be everything to everybody and chase after every possible dollar and not be willing to say, this is what we are; we’re going to be great for some people and we won’t be the thing for others, and being comfortable with that.

The decision to do print-only rests on that. It’s having the commitment to say, you know what, this is the product that we’re making and this is how it’s designed. It’s designed to be read in print; it’s designed to be consumed in a certain way. And yes, we could get more readers and put it behind a paywall, we could build more synergy, but why? This isn’t about the money, it’s about the experience. So, let’s have the faith that the experience on its own is good enough and luxurious enough and rewarding enough that people aren’t going to feel the need to do anything different like crowdfunding.

Samir Husni: What motivates you to get out of bed in the mornings?

Steve Casimiro: Taking my daughter to school. (Laughs) But seriously, I hate to say this because it really does sound pretentious, but I feel like I have a mission with Adventure Journal.

I have been so incredibly blessed in my career. I discovered skiing and it changed my life and within a couple of years I was working at the best ski magazine in the world and I was editing it. And that is a gift. And I got to start a mountain biking magazine and I got to have a hand in starting a snowboarding magazine and they’re all doing really well still today.

And I got to work with National Geographic and still do some work with those guys. I’ve been working with them since 1998. For a photographer and a writer and an editor, that’s a dream. I’ve been so fortunate.

Adventure Journal though to me feels like the most important and the best thing that I’ve ever done. And even though it’s been around for seven years, I feel like it’s just about to take off and the reason is because I am very, very idealistic about the power and potential for magazines to change people’s lives. They changed my life. And to move people, whether it’s about environmental issues or learning what adventure means to their lives; just whatever it is, magazines have so much power to do that, to communicate with people.

And at the end of the day with my own magazine; I’ve worked without compromising any of my own values. If you work for other people no matter how aligned you are, ultimately you’re going to be compromising your values at some point because you have your own perspective about things. So, AJ has given me the ability to share whatever it is I think is important. And to do stories that I know are not going to get as many viewers online, but they’re important stories. And to make decisions that are not just about commercial reasons. And I think that’s rare outside of small indie publications.

What I’m trying to do with AJ is have it not be a terribly small independent publication, but still take chances like one. And see where that takes us.

Samir Husni: My typical last question; what keeps you up at night?

Steve Casimiro: Just that there are too many things that I need to do myself around Adventure Journal. Aside from the occasional stabs of anxiety, where I just go, oh my, what have I done? (Laughs) Generally I don’t worry about anything. I have faith. What’s the worst that’s going to happen? The way that I’ve built it, it’s not going to lose life. If I didn’t sell a single copy, I wouldn’t lose money with the first issue. I could not be successful, but I’m not going to lose my shirt with it either. And I do have faith that it’s going to be successful. Already it is, based on two weeks of pre-selling.

The challenge is just trying to keep the direction straight. There are just so many directions you can go, right? Whether it’s a website or a magazine, you can go one way or another or both. There are so many challenges. So, how do you keep it as close as possible to that center line while still be willing to take chances? That doesn’t necessarily keep me up at night, but I think that’s something that I think a lot about, especially with this first issue. How do I balance the pieces that I find most interesting with what I think the readers are going to find interesting? And they’re not necessarily the same things because I’m kind of a nerd about stuff. I like to do really deep dives into things and I don’t mind reading a 15,000 word piece in The New Yorker. I love that. A 15,000 word piece in Adventure Journal is probably not going to work. (Laughs) You have to have a really firm hand on the tiller and not be afraid to say this is how it’s going to be.

But you also always have to be thinking about your ideal reader and what’s going to resonate with them.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

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