By now you're probably saying to yourself, "Hey, this Riggio guy wasn't kidding when he wrote back in December that there were some big changes in store for Woodshop News."
I'll go out on a limb here and guess that you're curious about the magazine's new size. For exactly 24 years and one month (gosh, that's a long time) - since our debut in December 1986 - we've published Woodshop News in a tabloid size (roughly 11"x14"). As you can see, we've switched to a more common magazine size (nearly 9"x11").
Why? Well the simple reason is it's 2010. Tabloids have sort of become a relic of the past. Rolling Stone use to be one; so did The Sporting News. Heck, even the magazines that are commonly referred to as tabloids - the National Enquirer, etc. - aren't really tabloids any more, at least in the physical sense.
I think it's safe to say that all magazines go through changes. And those that didn't probably aren't around anymore. Woodshop News has undergone several significant changes through the years. It was originally printed on what's called newsprint - paper commonly used in the newspaper industry. We once had four regional editions, known as wrappers, which wrapped around our national section. We upgraded our national section by printing it on magazine-style glossy paper and eventually got rid of newsprint altogether.
What hasn't changed is our content, focusing on the needs and interests of small- to mid-sized professional woodworking shops. We've been covering the wood markets and introducing new tools and machines since our first issue. The same goes for offering expert advice on finishing, woodworking techniques and best-business practices. No one can match the quality or quantity of our profiles.
As you begin to read the rest of your new magazine, I hope you'll remember a couple of things: it's still produced by the same staff of writers and editors that you've come to know and respect through the years and the content hasn't changed. Yes, you're holding a smaller magazine, but the breadth, length and focus of the articles within is the same as it ever was.
After reading my previous column that announced our format change, I was challenged by some readers to give the "real" reason. Yes, we're saving money on printing and paper costs. Like any other business, we're conscious of cost-cutting opportunities in this difficult economy. But this new format is also an opportunity to improve our product and prospects for the years ahead.
I hope you'll enjoy your new Woodshop News. I want to single out design chief Steve Jylkka for redesigning the magazine. We asked for a more modern look and he delivered.
This article originally appeared in the February 2010 issue.