Clever work by the designers at Research, an annual published by Michigan Technological University. The opening spread for “The Healing Stent,” a story about using zinc in coronary artery stents, superbly conveys the size of the technology by setting an example of the life-saving arterial technology next to some red Life Savers. Too good. (Click on image to appreciate it.)
The University of Texas has a clever and talented physics doctoral student named Frank Lee who likes to leave sketches on chalkboards in the physics grad student lounge. Alcalde, the UT mag, devoted a spread to some examples. My favorite is this one, derived from The Big Lebowski. The Dale abides.
Alcalde also has a worthy profile of Jake Silverstein, former editor of Texas Monthly and current editor of that hallowed scribsheet The New York Times Magazine. Writer Chris O’Connell starts out with a nifty bit of indirection:
Barbecue?” Jake Silverstein asks playfully, as he leans back in his chair inside his glass-walled office.
The 14th or so word out of his mouth, after pleasantries and a welcoming, familiar smile, is oddly pertinent. In the northeast, where we are presently, barbecue used to mean frozen hamburgers on a cheap charcoal grill. Not anymore, and partial credit goes to Silverstein. Barbecue is now familiar. It is wholly American. It’s fad-proof cuisine, the opposite of fondue or cronuts.
Do I want to ask him, a newly minted captain of New York’s media elite, from his perch on the sixth floor of the most famous newspaper and magazine building in the world, about barbecue? It hadn’t occurred to me, but yes. Yes I do.
Silverstein, MFA ’06, took over as the editor-in-chief of The New York Times Magazine in May 2014 after nearly six years at the helm of Texas Monthly, and his legacy at that hallowed institution is already defined—beyond a profound emphasis on longform journalism—by a predilection for the ever-growing culture of slow-cooked meats.
One part of the story gave me chills. O’Connell spoke to Texas Monthly executive editor Pamela Colloff about working with Silverstein on her piece “The Innocent Man,” which won a National Magazine Award.
Executive editor Pamela Colloff had the same nurturing experience while writing “The Innocent Man,” the epic story of Michael Morton, who spent nearly 25 years in prison after being falsely accused of murdering his wife. As her story ballooned to almost 16,000 words—vying for serious print real estate at that point—she panicked.
“He said, ‘Just keep going, just keep writing,'” Colloff remembers. “That’s not what you typically hear from an editor after the 16,000-word mark. He was not hemming me in, or urging, ‘You’ve got to finish this story.'”
Silverstein also made the unorthodox decision to split the story into two parts over consecutive issues, as it landed at a novella-esque 27,000 words when the dust settled.
An editor encouraging a writer to produce a 27,000-word piece? Oh, be still my fluttering heart.
As you’ll see if you follow the link, Alcalde did their usual exemplary job of applying HTML-5 to their online treatment of the story. Damn them.