Editor’s Note-Best in Town

Editor’s Note-Best in Town

Promising the world's best pizza doesn't make it so.

From the third grade into high school, I read every issue of the satire magazine Mad, plus a string of its paperback anthologies (The Mad Reader, Mad Strikes Back, Inside Mad, Utterly Mad, The Brothers Mad). There is no reason to offer that disclosure, except that I want to describe a cartoon from one of those anthologies.

Four pizza parlors are located beside each other, but one is getting all the business. The first is topped by a billboard proclaiming “The Country’s Best Pizza.” Next door, a neon-lighted marquee promises “The Best Pizza in the World.” One door away, a sign rimmed with flashing lights advertises “The Best Pizza in the Universe.” The fourth restaurant has a long line of customers and a very small sign: “The Best Pizza in Town.”

Every summer, my associates and I enter a competition sponsored by the Alliance of Area Business Publications, a national trade association, hoping to win the gold award for general excellence that allows us to declare Twin Cities Business the best regional business magazine in the country. When the gold award goes elsewhere (back in 2006, for example), we try not to look like sore losers. Being a gracious recipient is easier. On the three occasions in seven years that we received the award, we unfailingly averred that a national honor is less important than the approval of local readers.

That made it more fun for us to attend this year’s Excellence Awards presentations of the Minnesota Magazine and Publications Association (MMPA)—which comprises 95 Minnesota-based magazine publishing companies—and to receive the gold award for “Overall Excellence” among large-circulation business, trade, and professional publications. (As you read what follows, pretend that I’m only reporting, not boasting.)

The magazine also received the best award given in seven other categories: Best Feature Article, Best Single Cover, Best Regular Column, Best Use of Art, Best Special Section, Best Overall Design, and Best Media Kit. It received a silver award for Best Use of Photography. The Twin Cities Business 2006 Business Information Guide was named Best Directory in its class and praised for its depth and accuracy. If you are a subscriber to Twin Cities Business, your copy of the significantly improved 2007 Business Information Guide will arrive in the mail about 10 days after this issue.

A special Leadership Award for prodigious volunteer service to the MMPA was presented to Shelly Elmore, director of sales and marketing for the magazine. The presenter spoke of her strategic insight and unflagging energy, observations that lent validity to the other awards presented during the evening.

None of this means that we aren’t still working at getting better. In this issue, you’ll find a retrospective by Dave Beal on the enormous changes in the ranks of Minnesota’s leading companies since the early 1980s. Starting next month, Beal, recently semiretired from the St. Paul Pioneer Press as a business columnist, will elevate the quality of Twin Cities Business with a column on local capital markets.

Beal moved from Milwaukee to the Twin Cities 25 years ago, when the typical newspaper “business page” consisted of rewritten press releases and a wire-service story about yesterday’s stock market. He assembled and trained a staff to produce a superior new Monday business section, initiating two decades of competitive improvement in Twin Cities business reporting. At the Milwaukee Journal, he was known as a particularly diligent editor and the best business columnist in town—a sobriquet he also earned in Minnesota by writing 2,300 columns. He researches carefully, seldom has to write corrections, and focuses on his subject, not himself. So you might never learn what he read as a boy.

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