Editor’s Note-The Best in Town

Editor’s Note-The Best in Town

Some armchair bragging, notwithstanding 38,000 missing m's.

Yes, it’s boastful, but I am compelled to report that for the third consecutive year, Twin Cities Business received the gold award for “Overall Excellence” among larger-circulation business and trade publications at the 12th annual Excellence Awards presentations of the Minnesota Magazine and Publications Association (MMPA).

For the second consecutive year, Twin Cities Business received more gold awards (eight this year) and more total awards (14, five of them silver and one bronze) than any other publication in the association.

In addition to the Overall Excellence award, the magazine received the best award given in these seven categories: Best Feature Article, Best Overall Design, Best Single Cover, Best Use of Illustrations, Best Use of Photography, Best Regular Column, and Best Special Section or Supplement.

Six of the magazine’s 14 awards were for writing and editing, six were for design, and two were for a combination of the two. The most gratifying was a silver award in “Best Digital Media,” for the tcbmag.com Web site, some current content of which is noted on page 7 of this issue. Tcbmag.com was not launched until late fall 2007. Until then, our Web site was among the worst in all of American publishing—a truly pitiable presentation of staff phone numbers and advertising rates. Receiving recognition for its improvement is undeniably rewarding.

The MMPA comprises approximately 100 Minnesota-based magazine publishing companies. This year’s Excellence Awards attracted more than 640 entries from 104 publications.


Still with us? Five paragraphs of bragging are more than enough, don’t you think? I want you to know that we’ve found a few ways to stay humble.

Contributing to that effort was a misspelling on last month’s cover, where the word “embezzled” appeared—in half-inch-tall type—without the m.

Now, at the time the magazine was mailed to subscribers, the Dow Jones average had completed a 48 percent decline and economists were weighing the likely severity of an impending recession. You might be thinking that there are bigger things to worry about than a missing letter in one of 80,000 words that appeared in that issue.

And you would be right, but only if you’d never worked in magazine publishing, where misspellings on the cover are taboo—embarrassments, errors that simply are not allowed to happen.

It is gratifying to report that among the recriminations and denials of all responsibility were a few efforts to offer consolation—usually by suggesting: “Maybe no one will notice.” Not likely, I answered. Thirty-eight thousand people receive this magazine every month, and approximately 84,000 read it. I was pretty sure a few would notice.

“Well,” someone suggested, “Maybe they’ll just think it’s a word they don’t know.” That had possibilities.

“E-Bezzled,” I said, practicing on anyone who would listen. “It’s embezzling on the Internet, usually using e-mail.” I tried sounding sympathetic. “You didn’t know that? Hey, don’t let it bother you. It’s hard to stay current with the vernacular of new technology.”

It wouldn’t have worked. Too many people saw our pre-2008 Web site.


A better way to stay humble is to take note of the accomplishments of others. Last August, we reported on 10 Ernst & Young Entrepreneurs of the Year for the region encompassing Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the Dakotas. In November, two of the regional winners became national finalists, which means that they were judged to be among the top four in their categories.

Stephen Flagg, the founder and CEO of Quality Bicycle Products, was a finalist in the Retail and Consumer Products category. When Flagg started his company in 1981, he and his wife, Mary, took orders for bicycle parts from local shops and packed and shipped products themselves. After 27 consecutive years of growth in sales and profit, the Bloomington company now has $150 million in annual revenue, three bicycle brands, and 400 employees serving 5,000 dealers.

Arthur Huge, the CEO of the Menasha Corporation, a packaging, logistics, and marketing-services company in Neenah, Wisconsin, that was founded in 1849, doubled its shareholder value within three years by restructuring the company into four operating units and refocusing its use of capital.

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