MEDIA PROFILE: Outside magazine breaks new ground in outdoorscoverage

Outside magazine is one of the most trusted resources for those who

embrace the great outdoors. Even though it's far and away from New York,

regular pitching rules still apply. Allen Houston reports.

Outside magazine isn't located in New York, the metropolis of magazine

publishing. It's nestled in the mountains in Santa Fe, NM. The

25-year-old adventure title was located in Chicago, but removed itself

from the world of concrete and glass to get in closer contact with its

subjects: rivers, mountains, and the wilderness.

Outside has always been more than just another travel magazine. It

created a new form of adventure journalism that envelops sports,

environmentalism, and a love of the great outdoors. The magazine has won

three National Magazine Awards for editorial excellence. Indeed, many of

the stories first reported in Outside have later gone on to become

blockbuster films, including Into Thin Air and The Perfect Storm.

With a paid circulation of 625,000, the magazine enjoys intense loyalty

among its core readership, which is 70% male. The majority of its

readers (70%) are aged between 18 and 49, and many are high spenders on


Outside readers' household income is $87,000 on average, of which

they will spend over $2,000 on domestic travel in the next


The editorial team is composed of industry veterans who have worked for

magazines such as The New Yorker, Wired, Vanity Fair, and the New York

Observer. Hal Espen, the editor of Outside, came to the magazine after

15 years spent working as an editor for The New Yorker.

While readers of the magazine might imagine that the writers and editors

of Outside are snowboarding Mt. Kilimanjaro or kayaking dangerous

rapids, Hal Espen says that the editorial team prides itself on its

strong work ethic. "I don't want to give the impression that we're some

nerdy types who aren't out doing all of the things that we write about,

because we're a pretty rugged bunch. But we are also serious about

keeping our status as a top national magazine."

Outside, published by Mariah Media, works two months ahead of its

publication date. Each issue of the monthly magazine is composed of a

mishmash of sections that cover a variety of topics, such as

environmentalism, adventure, travel, and equipment news.

The Dispatches section contains general news and trends from

correspondents in the field, while features are penned by Outside

writers who travel the globe to bring back thrilling adventure stories.

There is a piece in the December issue about mountain rescuers working

at New York's Ground Zero, and another article on Ted Turner's plan to

"re-wild" America by purchasing huge chunks of land.

The Destinations section examines exotic locations from around the

world, and the review section profiles adventure toys, gear equipment,

and accessories.

Pitches to the magazine are encouraged, but Espen warns that too many PR

people try to sell their story ideas too broadly. "I often have the same

kind of bones to pick with freelancers that I have with PR people," said

Espen. "They betray a basic lack of understanding about the magazine and

try to give us a mass, one-size-fits-all pitch that is totally

inappropriate for us."

Espen suggests that familiarizing yourself with the magazine can prevent

headaches for the person pitching, as well as for the editorial


"Read the magazine, take a close look at the different sections, and

tailor your pitch around one of those particular beats."

Those who want to fax story ideas should make sure to include the name

of the section editor that they are hoping to attract. This will give

your pitch a better chance of not ending up in the trash bin. For those

who may need help finding out what section editors to pitch to, Espen

suggests that they contact either assistant Caren Hustoft or assistant

editor Christian Nardi for the proper information.

"As editors and journalists, we tend to kvetch too much about publicists

calling with story ideas," says Espen. "But we get great stuff from

publicists, and they can prove to be a gold mine when they know exactly

why they are pitching to us and who they are pitching for."



Address: 400 Market Street, Santa Fe, NM 87501

Tel: (505) 989-7100

Fax: (505) 989-4700


Editor: Hal Espen

Deputy editor: Jay Heinrichs

Managing editor: Katie Arnold

Fashion editor: Vicky McGarry

Features editor: Jay Stowe

Travel editor: Claire Martin

Special issues editor: Leslie Weeden

Assistant editor: Christian Nardi

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