What Can You Say About Wick Allison in 500 Words or Less?

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
Photo: Shaun Menary

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.

Wick, a Highland Park High graduate, loved the Park Cities and Preston Hollow and remained intensely interested in happenings there.

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.”

In 2019, Wick Allison passed on editorial and management responsibilities at D Partners to his wife, Christine, as editor-in-chief and CEO, and oldest daughter, Gillea, as president and chief revenue officer. (Photo: Natalie Goff)

For nearly 40 years, People Newspapers has worked tirelessly to tell the stories—good, bad, and sublime—of our neighbors in the Park Cities and Preston Hollow. To support our efforts, please contact [email protected] for advertising opportunities. Please also consider sharing this story with your friends and social media followers.

William Taylor

William Taylor, editor of Park Cities People and Preston Hollow People, shares a name and a birthday with his dad and a love for community journalism with his colleagues at People Newspapers. He joined the staff in 2016 after more than 25 years working for daily newspapers in such places as Alexandria, Louisiana; Baton Rouge; McKinney; San Angelo; and Sherman, though not in anywhere near that order. A city manager once told him that “city government is the best government” because of its potential to improve the lives of its residents. William still enjoys covering municipal government and many other topics. Follow him on Twitter @Seminarydropout. He apologizes in advance to the Joneses for any angry Tweets that might slip out about the Dallas Cowboys during the NFL season. You also can reach him at [email protected]. For the latest news, click here to sign up for our newsletter.

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