"We heard there were statues"
Greetings, oh campers, from the wastelands of post-literate bloggernet hipsterism. It's cool to be surfin' the New Media wave. And being on the e-publishing forefront just got a lot cooler since Backpacker won three National Magazine Awards last week, and two of them were for Backpacker Dot Com right here. Yeehaw!
Yeah, you might have read about it late last week, but I thought I'd provide a little background.
Now, this may not mean much to you media consumers (aka 'sheeple'), but to us content providers (aka 'elites') it's a gigantically huge deal, basically the Oscars for glossy print periodicals but without the free jewelry and red carpet cleavage. Still, everybody (else on staff, sulk) gets all dressed up and rubs elbows uptown with the GQ/Cosmo/Rolling Stone set. And then, in front of this big Jumbo-tron like they have at the Super Bowl, assorted TV celebs put on the rubber diaper and get down to it, handing out burnished metal sculptures called Ellies.
Since backpackers are simple creatures, lets put this in terms we can all understand here: Having little Backpacker win three Ellies is cool because it's the closest you can get in modern life to raiding the big bad tribe next door and stealing lots of their horses. The raiding party just returned. We're still waiting to hear about scalps. Apparently no liquor made it back to the village.
Our own Senior Editor and recovering Alaskan, Tracy Ross, counted one big coup for Essay writing (The Source of All Things, November 08). Our entire magazine was also nominated for General Excellence on the strength of three separate issues, including the modestly titled How to Do Everything, but we got robbed by a sympathy vote for Texas Monthly because, hey, they gotta live there.
But TWO, 2, TOOOOOOOOO of the wins went to Backpacker.com, right here! That's cause for serious ululating! The whole website won for General Online Excellence, and Backpacker's Maps Project (the Destinations tab above) won for Personal Service Excellence. Wooohooo! Go geeks! Pulp free, baby!
Of course, the relationship between new media and parent magazines is a bit like being a college graduate still on the job hunt; You're all smug about your new degree in futurism, but the same stodgy, rigid father who never let you have any fun (vacations notwithstanding) is still paying the bills and that means you have to mow the lawn for allowance money. But at least you've got paper cred. And Ellies! OMFGTSC!!!
To hang some name-based glorification on this: The onliners consist of Anthony Cerretani (blame him for the videos) , Katie Herrell (makes Hal work), Ted Alvarez (fisherman of factoids), Berne Broudy (green maven), yours truly (recreational consultant), and the latest in a long string of interns we'ved used and tossed like Kleenex, Matt Draper and Morgan Keys.
The Backpacker Maps thing - a whole other Ellie in itself - is almost entirely the brainchild and baby of Kris Wagner, our uber geek Map Editor who has a bad habit of deep-ending into code and dragging too many electronics on weeklong trips. If you ever get lost and a smart phone saves your bacon, Kris probably had something to do with it. Numerous other hard-working fellow cubicle hamsters must continue laboring in obscurity because this is the internet and we're already pushing reader attention span.
So big kudos to the BP tribe! We rock! Next year let's take slaves too. --sh
Photo: Dances with Wolves publicity still, Orion Pictures