Tim Wilson takes over the Back Forty for this issue to say, "Allow me to interrupt our regularly scheduled Back Forty to tell you what happened when our publisher Ronald Lindeboom called me one morning in April, saying, 'You're not going to believe this, Creative COW Magazine finally won an award!'"
Allow me to interrupt our regularly scheduled Back Forty to tell you what happened when our publisher Ronald Lindeboom called me one morning in April, saying, "You're not going to believe this, Creative COW Magazine finally won an award!"
He was right. I didn't believe it. Not because I don't think we deserve an award. I'd love a bunch of awards, but we don't exactly fit the profile. Design and content awards are given by, well, professional designers and editors, which I only marginally am. Besides, Ronald had never mentioned entering our magazine into a competition, and I sure never had, so I asked, "What award? Who gave it?"
He said that it was from FOLIO: Magazine, the trade magazine for people who make magazines. I was floored. FOLIO had called us a couple of months earlier, wanting to hear how the COW website started a magazine at exactly the moment that print publishers were spending millions to move to the web.
It was even more interesting to them that Creative COW Magazine was thriving in print. We told our story, and talked about some of the lessons we've learned that were applicable to print publications.
FOLIO seemed to like what we told them, and we thought we'd get a nice little article out of the conversation. Neither of us dreamed what they were thinking.
I still couldn't figure out how we got from there to an award for the magazine, so I hustled over to FOLIO's website. I was right. The magazine did not win an award. Its publisher did. Creative COW Magazine Publisher Ronald Lindeboom was named one of the 2011 FOLIO: 40. A yearly honor recognizing "the most distinguished magazine and media professionals from every corner of our industry."
After I read this to him, a long silence.
"So the award isn't for Creative COW Magazine?"
Another long silence. "Bummer."
He said that both because he had been a teenager in the 60s, and because he was genuinely unhappy that Creative COW Magazine was still without an award. He was upset that I hadn't even been quoted in the write-up.
"Look," I replied. "The award is for 'Individuals Creating a New Chapter for the Magazine Industry.' It's an award for your vision to create a growing print magazine when others in our trade are going out of print, by building the whole thing around a community." I could tell he still wasn't happy, so I added, "Well, I guess they wouldn't have given you the award if they didn't think the magazine was pretty good too."
"Okay," he said, smiling at last -- yet for the next month, he was still telling people that Creative COW Magazine won an award!
Ronald is not only one of my dearest and oldest friends; he is a mentor, a supporter, one of my biggest fans and cheerleaders - but also my boss. So I hesitated as long as I could, but I couldn't take it anymore. "Cut it out!" I yelled. "The magazine did not win the award. You won the award! I don't want to hear you talk about the magazine winning an award until it actually wins something. You won!"I swear, a month later, he still wasn't comfortable with the fact that the award was for him. As the award stated, it was a recognition of his vision, which truly is helping change the very idea of what it means to make a magazine in 2011 and beyond. That's one reason it took us so long to issue a press release about the award - he couldn't get past the idea of him, and not the magazine, winning.
It's funny, most people are fast to heap credit on themselves, when it actually belongs to a team. Ronald is too slow to take the credit that belongs solely to him. The COW team is growing, and I'm proud that we are doing great work. I confess to bragging about our accomplishments at Creative COW Magazine more than is seemly.
Which is why I'm so delighted this time to tell you exactly what I told him: the magazine didn't win an award. Ronald Lindeboom did.