Editor’s Viewpoint: Old school/new school
America was riding a wave of urban and industrial growth at the beginning of 1907. People were pouring into the nation’s cities, including more than 1 million immigrants in that year alone. Great wealth was being created at the same time and, along with it, an increasing economic inequality and a new social layer: the urban poor. The good times came to an end abruptly in June 1907 with a financial panic that led to two major brokerage firms going bankrupt and bank runs across the country. That created a liquidity crisis that launched a recession.
By 1909, America was regaining its confidence, and the year was noted as “preeminently one of business recovery” in a January 1910 New York Times story. Arthur Grant saw his opportunity that year, too, and started a new magazine focusing on the significant changes in the nation’s urban areas. With this issue, his vision, The American City, is 100 years old, and our celebration of its remarkable stability stands in contrast to the country’s mood in this unsteady year.
While we pay tribute to the thousands of local and state government officials whose stories have been illuminated here for the past century, we are focused on the future, because that’s where the changing demands for providing public services will be waiting for you — and our goal is to help you prepare for them. We also know that time has become one of your biggest enemies, and to help make the minutes you spend with us as productive as possible, we have reshaped American City & County. We will continue to present the stories relevant to your job, but in a format that makes the important points even more succinctly. At the same time, our cover stories will expand to discuss our communities’ increasingly difficult problems, and the impressive technology that is revolutionizing the way government works.
Technology also has changed the way we are delivering our services to you. While our print edition analyzes the issues and trends affecting local and state governments, our recently redesigned and expanded Web site is home to timely news, podcasts, white papers, 14 years of issue archives and 30 years of the Municipal Cost Index. Our online products grew quickly last year and now include webinars, Special Reports, and even a virtual trade show, Local Government Summit.
The Web itself is evolving, too. We believe that as our online products become more sophisticated and targeted, viewers will turn to us, instead of Google-style search engines, for the same reason Arthur Grant realized a century ago that The American City would be a better source for city officials than newspapers or any other publication. Because unlike general news sources and search engines, American City & County will deliver the information you need to make your own mark on history.