Favorite

The Oxford American expands beyond print 

click to enlarge Oxford American magazine image

The Oxford American, the 19-year-old "Southern Magazine of Good Writing" that has been published in Arkansas since 2002 and run under the auspices of the non-profit Oxford American Literary Project since 2004, has signed a five-year lease on the buildings at 1300 Main Street that formerly housed Juanita's. The business staff of the non-profit will move into office space on the property at the end of November or early December. The editorial offices of the magazine, which have been housed on the campus of the University of Central Arkansas since 2004, will remain at UCA.

The new space, which includes a stage, a bar, a restaurant kitchen and two large ground-floor rooms, will allow the Oxford American to broaden its reach, publisher Warwick Sabin said.

"I'm looking to continue to develop the Oxford American as more than just a magazine, to establish it as a cultural institution dedicated to preserving and perpetuating Southern culture in all its expressions."

To that end, Sabin said he hopes the new location will eventually house a Southern cafe that will host noteworthy musicians, writers, artists, photographers, chefs, filmmakers, playwrights and others for evening programming. The potential for collaboration with local arts organizations like the Little Rock Film Festival and The Rep is great, he said.

Sabin's vision represents a growing trend among media companies looking to expand beyond their publications. For many, like the venerable Seattle alt-weekly The Stranger, which now sells concert tickets and develops web programs, self-preservation is the driving factor. Until advertising revenues on the web offset a steady decline in print ad revenues (if ever), publishers have to be creative about propping up their bottom lines. Others, like the two-year-old non-profit Texas Tribune, see it as their mission to engage with their communities. "Events are journalism — events are content. And in this new world, content comes to you and you create it in many forms," Evan Smith, the Tribune's chief editor and chief executive, told the website Nieman Journalism Lab in July. "We think much of the technology world embraces 'push' as opposed to 'pull' as a way to reach people. We are taking a 'push' approach to content, and that means going to people with content where they live."

Over the last several years, the Oxford American has taken a similar approach, hosting dozens of events in Arkansas and throughout the South, including a writing summit held this summer at the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute that brought the New Yorker's David Remnick to Arkansas and a "Future of the South" symposium held earlier this month at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. Sabin said such programming occasionally benefits the editorial budget of the magazine, which publishes quarterly in print and monthly on the web.

Like the Tribune's Smith, Sabin sees the programming as a way, in part, to "push" the magazine's content to readers. With events surrounding the release of its popular Southern music issues, "we want people to experience the music and hear it themselves in venues that have some cultural significance," Sabin said. Of course even if people who go to events don't become readers, the Oxford American still fulfills its mission. That means, ultimately, Sabin is responsible less for selling a magazine than for selling the cultural vitality of the South. As I hope the Oxford American's new home proves, that's a sales pitch with growth potential.

In full disclosure, I worked at the Oxford American early in my career.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Tags:

Comments (5)

Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

More by Lindsey Millar

  • 2017 Best of Arkansas editors' picks

    Pie, dog-chasing-geese watching, wrecked groceries, etc.
    • Jul 27, 2017
  • The Cotton, Boozman Nowhere to Be Found Edition

    Arkansas politicians and the health care overhaul and Russia investigation, the ascension of Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the firing of Pulaski County Superintendent Jerry Guess, the end of Riverfest, UA-LR and football and maybe more — all covered on the podcast.
    • Jul 21, 2017
  • Riverfest calls it quits

    The board of directors of Riverfest, Arkansas's largest and longest running music festival, announced today that the festival will no longer be held. Riverfest celebrated its 40th anniversary in June. A press release blamed competition from other festivals and the rising cost of performers fees for the decision.
    • Jul 18, 2017
  • More »

Most Shared

Latest in Media

  • UA cozy with D-G columnist

    An interesting element of the ongoing story of budget problems in the University of Arkansas Advancement Division has been a divide in outlook in the pages of the state's dominant news medium, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
    • Nov 21, 2013
  • Democrat-Gazette covers one of its own in story of reporter Cathy Frye's rescue

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's reports on the rescue of its reporter Cathy Frye, who was missing for days in the hot scrubby desert that is Big Bend Ranch State Park, are gripping.
    • Oct 10, 2013
  • Hodge shares his OA vision

    Roger Hodge, the new editor of Oxford American magazine, talked about his rise at Harper's, his writing philosophy and his plans for the OA before a full crowd last Wednesday at the Clinton School.
    • Sep 26, 2012
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

July

S M T W T F S
  1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Viewed

  • Narrow opening for Arkansas Democrats

    "Somebody in this room — it's time to go big or go home." At the Democratic Party of Arkansas's Clinton Dinner last weekend, Gov. John Bel Edwards of Louisiana used his platform as keynote speaker to embolden a candidate to step up to run for governor against incumbent Republican Governor Hutchinson.
  • Head-shaking

    Another edition of so-much-bad-news-so-little space.
  • Buyer remorse

    Out here in flyover country, you can't hardly go by the feed store without running into a reporter doing one of those Wisdom of the Heartland stories.
  • Not Whitewater

    Just think: If Democrats had turned out 78,000 more votes in three states in November, people could be reveling today in the prospect of impeaching and convicting President Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump, as some Republican lawmakers had promised to try to do if she won.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Another Jesus

    • I always enjoy reading your articles Autumn. You keep being the caring person you are…

    • on July 26, 2017
  • Re: Another Jesus

    • Sorry, I have never written about Hillary Clinton's "blunders" in Benghazi. Since you call them…

    • on July 25, 2017
  • Re: Another Jesus

    • IBS, were you there in Benghazi to personally witness all of Hillary's blunders like you…

    • on July 23, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation