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,
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