Thousands of words couldn’t do justice to the late Wick Allison. But he only allowed me 500.
The day he approved my promotion to editor in 2017, he also demanded an immediate redesign.
Many newspapers would form a committee and take weeks, months, or longer to roll out a new look.
Wick wanted it done by the next issue.
People Newspapers publisher Pat Martin observed recently, “Wick was a dynamic leader and didn’t do anything in a small way.”
Fortunately, Wick already had worked out a redesign plan. Gone went the text-heavy, color-coded front page and the practice of jumping stories to a second page. Instead, we adopted a magazine-inspired, single-photo cover and began enforcing a strict word count. Shorter stories would allow for more stories.
That unusual first day for me was just an average workday for him.
Gillea Allison, president of D Magazine Partners, recently blogged about how her father. “Wick could start his morning by firing off a controversial, persuasive blog post that would send shivers through City Hall; close a huge advertising contract over lunch; and then deliver helpful art feedback to a designer in the afternoon. If you know the media industry, you know that brilliant writing, editing, design, and sales skills are never held by one person. Except for Wick. He was a master of each.”
“We have and will continue to benefit from his vision.”Pat Martin
At a mere 24 years old, he set out in 1974 to start a city magazine. With help from Stanley Marcus and a few young backers, D Magazine was born. He later sold it and, in 1980, moved to New York City, where he enjoyed continued publishing success with the likes of Arts & Antiques Magazine and National Review.
In 1995, Wick and Christine Allison returned to Dallas with their four young daughters, reclaimed D Magazine, and began restoring its brand, eventually adding D Home, D Weddings, DCEO, and other products and businesses.
He bought People Newspapers in 2003, a seemingly odd acquisition for the magazine man who liked to poke fun at the journalism majors in the room when he gave his “Magazines 101” presentation to interns and new employees. He shook his head at the neutral objectivity idealized by newspaper writers.
Magazines could stay fair while still having a perspective, he told us. D Magazine’s mission is to make Dallas better.
He’d call or email to tell me to run a story about the architectural merits of a planned school, cover development options along Northwest Highway, or use a photo “with a boy in it” for an Independence Day parade cover story. He might even write a column.
Well, that’s nearly 500 words, so I’ll close with one of publisher Pat’s thoughts on Wick, “We have and will continue to benefit from his vision.”
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