Editor’s Letter

Posted on May 4, 2010 – 1:32 AM | by OldManFoster
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I like letters.

Putting together each issue of Midtown is a little bit like building a bike while riding it at the same time: you just keep moving and figure you’re doing good if the wheels don’t fall off. Given the too-busy-to-look-up-from-the-trenches nature of small publishing it’s great to get comments from the real world, i.e. from people who don’t spend most of their waking moments sweating over deadlines, ad placements and who’s writing Musical Chairs next month.  It also helps that most of the letters we get are positive.

The letters often surprise me. The best letter we got this month came from a reader living way out of our central city bailiwick.  I knew we had readers in Fair Oaks and Davis, but Yuba City? I wasn’t expecting that.  Letters like this are better than paychecks. Almost.  Here it is, edited for brevity and clarity:

Dear Mr. Foster-

I live in Yuba City, and get down to Sac about once a month, and always try and pick up an issue of the Midtown Monthly, as I enjoy reading it, but this month, blew my socks off. I read the “Old Timey Issue” from cover to cover & especially [enjoyed] the articles: “Your One Stop Old Timey Shop”, “1910” and “Daytrip: Richmond”…

So I just wanted to thank you personally for your Editor’s Letter, talking about ‘finally’ doing an “Old Timey Issue.”  Maybe if you have enough stuff to write, you could have a second edition, of MORE stuff, MORE history, and lotsa pictures to go with it, too!!

Also, kudos for the GREAT COVER IDEA!! The 2 gentlemen on the cover get two thumbs up for a great shot!…

Anyway, thanks again. I did enjoy it very much, but you put it together….. FANTASTIC JOB!! Keep up the good work!! More of it in the future!!

Regards, Curtis West

Then there are the letters I don’t like. You might think that those would be the occasional letters criticizing us for such things as covering stories outside the exact geographic boundaries of Midtown Sacramento, or the three or four messages we get every year complaining about the use of a certain Anglo-Saxon word that is very popular with NWA, Underworld cartoonist Kaz and former Vice President Dick Cheney.  Meh.  Everyone has an opinion, and I’m generally interested in hearing those of our readers, even if I happen to disagree with them.

No, the letters that I hate to get are the ones like this, from Tom Tolley of the Sacramento Room:

Hey Tim,

The issue looks great, except that… [it says] that the Sacramento Room is the official repository of the Sacramento City and County records, which it is not. The Sacramento County Clerk-Recorders Office at 600 8th Street serves as custodian of public record, the Sacramento Room has no complete files of any such records, though City and County documents are kept on microfiche in the library itself.

I’d hate to have people showing up thinking that they can find information we have no special access to.

Thanks again for the publicity, stay dry.

Best, Tom

It really burns me when we screw up.  I’ve learned to live with the typos that creep in no matter what I do, but the big mistakes still sting.  Sure, we can fix an article online, but we can’t un-print thousands and thousands of magazines.  There isn’t much that readers ask of a free magazine, but they rightly expect to be able to trust the information we print.  Sometimes we get it wrong, and it bugs the hell out of me.

And then there are the letters that aren’t really letters at all- just random bits of commentary that float around in the ether that comprises the internet and eventually, somehow, drop in my lap.  A friend forwarded me this note from one of her friends’ Facebook status updates a couple of weeks back:

Two magazines that I consistently read cover to cover and do everything they tell me to (that I haven’t done/seen/tasted already) – take every trip, try every restaurant and recipe, patronize every shop and take every bit of advice to heart, garden or otherwise:

Sunset and Midtown Monthly.

Wow.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

Please keep writing, and calling and Facebooking, and Yelp!ing and doing whatever it is that you do to let us know what you think.  Tell us when we make mistakes.  Tell us which articles you liked and which ones you don’t. You can even tell us we stink. Sometimes we do.

Thanks for writing, and thanks for picking us up.


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