Eddie Winner: Best Full Issue, Regional
Elizabeth Hudson, editor of Our State, knew the magazine had hit a home run when it decided to base an issue around the quest for the best Carolina burger in North Carolina. â€śWhen you run an issue about food it really resonates in the south,â€ť she explains. â€śAnd the feedback was fantastic, of course. Everyone wanted to tell us the place we missed, the places we should have covered, their favorite burgers!â€ť
A Carolina burger is a regional concoction, complete with cheese, chili, mustard, cole slaw and onions. â€śThe issue started out as a quest for the best burger in the state, a natural choice for a topic,â€ť Hudson remembers. â€śBut the way it ended up, it wasnâ€™t an issue about the food at all, it became an issue about the places and the communities and the people we met when we were searching for the best burger.â€ť
Our State is a privately owned, monthly, 200-page magazine focused solely on North Carolina. â€śOur paid subscriber base is 150,000. Combined with newsstand sales, our total paid circulation is about 180,000 and our readership is about 770,000,â€ť she says. â€śWe had a 10,000 increase in subscriptions year-over-year for 2011, with an 89 percent renewal rate.â€ť
The publication, which ran its first issue in 1933, is exploring digital options and expanding its online offerings. â€śWeâ€™re just really getting our feet onto the web, to enhance stories with video, slide shows and contests. We have a good Facebook presence, web newsletters and weâ€™re really excited about rolling out a mobile edition in 2012,â€ť Hudson says.
Hudson normally runs about five to seven features a month, and the magazine always includes a 20-page photo-essay on a North Carolina subject.
The magazine has a ten-person editorial staff, and relies on local freelancers to supply additional content. â€śMost issues are theme issues; when you produce a large magazine you really need something to tie it all together,â€ť Hudson explains, adding that, â€śWe are all about the state of North Carolina. Every issue is a celebration of the state, with beautiful photography.â€ť