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Falling Into a Self-Promoting Writing Trap


One of the types of columns I’ve always hated are those self-promoting diatribes from a publisher or editor telling how great their new content or cutting-edge a website redesign is.

One in particular comes to mind. Shortly after Jim Sheeler and Todd Heisler won a Pulitzer each for the Rocky Mountain News in 2006, a publisher’s note lauded them, for a few paragraphs anyway. Then it went on to say how momentous it was that the Rocky could celebrate the one-year anniversary of YourHub.com, a community-written offshoot of the paper that has every respectable journalist rolling their eyes.

It would have been classy to perhaps not mention YourHub in the same breath as two Pulitzers, you know, the highest of high awards in journalism. A month before hiring Jim Spencer as our marquee columnist, I vaguely remember telling him that I’d never, ever, fall into that trap in this space, perhaps even mentioning that Pulitzer of a tale as reason.

It looks like my hypocrisy is as big as the wall Congressman Tom Tancredo would like to build between the U.S. and Mexico.

See, we have this really, really, really cool new logo. You may have noticed it on the cover. It’s more GQ than Erie Review, which is the point. We’ve transformed from a small, East County publication into North Metro’s magazine of choice. We wanted a look to correspond to this. We even toyed with the idea of a name change, ’cause some just don’t understand the “Yellow” and it’s a mouthful of marbles. Typical conversation:

“Hey, this is Jacob Harkins, the editor of The Yellow Scene…”

“The L.O.C.? Never heard of it.”

“No, Y-E-L-L-O-W Scene; we’re a hip magazine.”

“I still don’t follow.”

Being mistaken for a senior’s publication and derogatory Asian reference are also commonplace.

We have no relation to The Yellow Pages, either. That’s a phone book, people.

Then we have to explain what, exactly, “yellow” means. To clarify, we do not practice yellow journalism. Ethics are
very important to us.

But since we are fond of our name, we opted against drastic change. We figured a new look and branding push would suffice. Our name will be as synonymous with the North Metro scene as Mother Jones is the political climate.

But Yellow Scene does have meaning, beyond brand. For the curious, it comes from a couple of places. First, there’s the cute story of our publisher starting this publication eight years ago by distributing a flier plastered with local business ads to every house in Erie. By hand. It was on yellow paper.

Then there is yellow’s association with the sun and the outdoors and adventure, you know, the kind of activities and backdrops that have people relocating to the North Metro area in droves. We represent those things, although we specifically cover North Metro’s scene (political, musical, visual or food-ical).

We’ve cleaned up our name, too, so we avoid those aforementioned problems. We have dropped the “The” and officially added “Magazine” at the end. Please call us Yellow Scene Magazine. Because as French Davis pointed out when we told him the “The” was history: “Articles are dead, man.” And saying “magazine” just makes it easier to understand.
Oh, we have a really cool new website, too. You should check it out.

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