Dear Mr. Miner:
Thank you very much for your coverage of Lake magazine in the April 30 issue of the Chicago Reader [Hot Type]. With regard to my launching Lake magazine, everything you stated and quoted was accurate.
However, there are other components I had discussed with you as well. In creating this publication I cannot overemphasize the importance in my mind of not only celebrating the lakeshore and its people and culture, but also creating a heightened awareness of the lake as a great natural resource.
Once upon a time people ate fish from nearby lake waters. There was no need for “warning labels” on Lake Michigan fish. Today there are several generations of humanity no longer aware that hundreds of thousands of fish were once harvested from southern Lake Michigan waters.
Why shouldn’t we be able to swim in our lake without fear of bacterial contamination? Why can’t we enjoy perch and other fine freshwater fish from local waters? Who decided that it was acceptable to take away our right to clean water?
If this magazine was called “Lake, Our Precious Natural Resource,” it would be a minor publication preaching to a choir of scientists and hard-core environmentalists. Can Lake magazine be a commercial success and enlighten its audience at the same time? This is truly my hope.
Lake supports environmental groups in almost every issue. In the current issue, we have the Nature Conservancy and the Lake Michigan Federation among advertisers. We donate the space to them. We also cosponsor regional events, such as the annual Chicago River Day.
Until Lake magazine converted to all-coated stock last fall, our paper stock–except for covers–was 100 percent recycled paper. Since we converted to all-coated stock, I have learned that there is no paper company in America that makes coated paper anywhere near the 100 percent recycled level. So far we have located one mill in Wisconsin offering coated stock with a fraction of recycled content. The Sierra Club uses this mill’s paper for its magazine. We are currently looking at the cost and hope to switch to this stock in the future.
In the “Scene” converage in Lake magazine we mix in environmental events coverage. And we have run stories on dune mining and lakeshore area land-preservation efforts.
In conclusion, I remain grateful for the ink you gave to Lake, but I am compelled to clarify some of the goals.
Deborah Loeser Small
Founding editor, Lake magazine