Covers sell magazines. They grab you at a glance, or they don’t, so there’s a lot riding on them. We’re hoping you like the face of this month’s Peoria Magazine. Consider it a bargain, as it conveys two metaphors for the price of one.
The ribbon-cutting on the new OSF HealthCare Ministry Headquarters in Downtown Peoria was an obvious choice for this “Workplace” edition. It’s a statement project on multiple levels, as it’s a reaffirmation of Peoria’s reputation as a “headquarters city,” a reincarnation of a historic building that once awaited a wrecking ball, a repurposing of an architectural jewel, a reinvestment in a Downtown that needs it and more, a restoration not just of bricks and mortar but of faith and confidence in a central Illinois trying to reinvent itself for the 21st century, a rebellious act against a global pandemic, a reminder of an era when central Illinois and its central city had prime-time aspirations.
In short, it’s a potential game-changer.
This month’s cover contains something of a dual meaning, as this also is a ribbon-cutting, of sorts, on a new-look, new-mission Peoria Magazine.
Almost four months ago, WTVP purchased the magazine, which has existed in one form or another since 1989. The publication went on hiatus the first two months of 2022, providing time to begin building a staff and stable of writers pretty much from the ground up, to initiate a complete redesign – thank you, Grindstone Group – to fill nearly 100 pages with must-see stories and photos, and to prepare ourselves to come back the next month, and the month after that, and … You get the picture.
It has been a whirlwind. As the new editor in chief, I come to this assignment following a career spent largely in newspapers, which have sometimes been called “the daily miracle.” Relaunching Peoria Magazine with Publisher Lesley Matuszak – not coincidentally in the month of March, which heralds the arrival of spring, a time of rebirth and renewal – feels something like that.
What can you expect?
The magazine will retain some signature features – 40 Leaders Under Forty, Local Legends, Women of Influence, the Community Impact Guide – while returning to its roots as a business journal.
Each issue will have four to five locally produced, primary stories, along with recurring sections that pay respects to our risk-takers (Mom-and-Pop of the Month), farmers (Seed and Soil), foodies (Dish and Drink), authors (WordCount), entertainers, artists, history makers (because you can’t know where you’re going if you don’t appreciate where you’ve been), and more. Each issue will sport a theme.
The magazine will evolve as we learn what resonates. Reader ideas are welcome, as Peoria Magazine will be as compelling as you help us make it. Feel free to share at [email protected].
Ideally, local employers will hand Peoria Magazine to prospective recruits with the words, “This is what central Illinois is all about.” Hopefully, it helps make our case.
Like OSF HealthCare’s new headquarters, we’d like to think the new Peoria Magazine can be a statement project, too, in its own way.
Obviously, it betrays a belief in print – hey, they thought vinyl records had reached relic status, too – though we’re realists and will have a strong online presence, as well. Wherever you access media, we want to be there.
More importantly, we’d like to broadcast a belief in ourselves.
Once upon a time, “this town had a lot of swagger,” Jim Mormann, the OSF executive who oversaw the headquarters reconstruction, said in our cover story. “We gotta bring it back.”
Central Illinois is our home. All of us should want it to be its best self. If Peoria Magazine can play a small role in helping to make that happen by shining a spotlight on what makes this a special place, that’s what we intend to do.
Mike Bailey is editor in
chief of Peoria Magazine.