By Larry Leonard
Janus: The god of gates
A few words about what it was like in the old days on the magazine, and what we want it to be like in the new days.
Welcome to a new century, a new millenium and a new Oregon Magazine. Some of the people involved in this new publication were writers and contributing editors for the old lady when she was located in an office on Portland’s Washington St (Lenhart says it was Stark St., but what would the editor know about addresses?), down towards the river. One of these, our Paris Bureau Chief, also did editorial consulting for the incarnation that for a brief time emanated from Roseburg.
So, there’s a connection here to the past.
Looking in the other direction, the direction of science and technology, the publication is being introduced on the internet. Win McCormack, Richard Weinberg and Harry Lenhart, respectively president, publisher and editor from the Washington St. days, could hardly have had any idea that such a thing as the worldwide web would ever exist, let alone revolutionize the very nature of the human world.
Communications to them was radio, television and print.
But, they turned out a fine publication. It was welcomed in many libraries, bookstores, restaurants, offices and homes. And, when it was no more, it was missed. Writers missed it because it was a freelance market, of course, but there was more. It wasn’t about business, lifestyle, science, education, travel, sports, history, art or literature.
It was about all of them.
And, it offered room to write like Harney County offers room to roam. You didn’t have a 500 word newspaper slot hemming you in. You had a thousand, two thousand, three thousand words to deal with a subject. You could include more than a list of the basic facts plus one anecdote. You could saddle your typewriter and ride all day — really giving the reader a good look at the subject.
More than any other publication in the state, it was a writer’s vehicle.
Which is probably why the audience it reached, though miniscule compared to that of the here unidentified big newspaper that dominates the state, so dearly loved it. Oregon is one of the most literate states in the Union. Per capita, more books are sold here than anywhere else in America.
To a reader, the poem, the column, the essay and the extensive treatise all equal one point. Each serves a specific and needed purpose and has equal value. To a reader, a publication that understands which application is the correct one for a given subject is pure gold. A joy to behold. A treasure.
When informed that a group of people were going to bring about the rebirth of Oregon Magazine, Frank Amato, a Portland area publisher of primarily fishing magazines and books said, “That will be good. I have missed it.”
And, so, with the birth of a new century and a new millenium comes the birth of a new Oregon Magazine that looks back to its rich heritage and forward to the technological era we are entering. Something old and something new for the god of the gate, Janus, after which the month January is named.
The place that joins where you’ve been with where you’re going.