As a 1980s college student who was interested in progressive culture, I was thrilled to see the Utne Reader arrive in my mailbox. Each issue felt like a passport to seeing the world in a different way, and although I didn’t know it at the time, I can understand now how much my reading of Utne taught me about how magazines entertain, educate, challenge, and support their readers.
A decade later I had become an editor at Orion, and it was a thrill when Orion received its first nomination for the awards that Utne presents each year to independent magazines. Since then Orion has received many more nominations, but when we learned last week that Orion is again a nominee for the Utne Media Awards it was no less exciting than it was in 1994.
We are humbled by the formidable competition we are up against this year, in the category of General Excellence: Yes!, Adbusters, and Tomorrow, all of which we admire and learn from. But the Utne Media Awards feel less like a contest than an affirmation of the importance of independent media, and a powerful statement about its breadth, diversity, and influence on culture. We’re proud to be a nominee, but mostly we’re proud to be a member of the community of magazines and websites that are addressing the need for change.
H. Emerson Blake is editor-in-chief of Orion.