A lot to cover
In my nearly four years at TulsaPeople, I've never had an experience with an issue of the magazine like the one I had with our September issue, which celebrated all things Tulsa music.
For one, I had never written an extended cover story (a spotlight on the New Tulsa Sound), which I was honored to do for this month's issue. But for another, I had never seen our staff agonize so thoroughly over choosing the issue's cover.
Allow me to pull back the curtain on how that process normally works:
Each month, our editorial team discusses which stories or subjects might make good covers, and finalizes a list of potential options. Then our ace photographer Michelle Pollard shoots the photos that would facilitate those cover options. Then creative director Amanda Watkins designs each cover option, prints them out, and hangs them up on a tackboard in our production room.
At that point, members of the editorial and design departments stand in front of that tackboard, take in all the options, and write our initials on which cover we prefer. Finally, our fearless leader Jim Langdon takes a look, considers everyone's votes, and ultimately makes the final decision. Sometimes there are tweaks to the design. Sometimes there are even photo re-shoots. But that's the basic process.
For our Music Issue, thanks to the fun nature of the subject matter, and especially thanks to the top-notch photography and design from Michelle and Amanda, the process of choosing the cover was as involved as any I've ever witnessed. Opinions and votes changed by the hour for a solid week leading up to deadline.
For my part, given that I had written the cover story and was beyond excited about the issue, the vote was near impossible to cast. I liked all the options so much, each in its own way and for its own reasons, that I hesitated until nearly the last second to even offer a definitive opinion.
Ultimately, I (and several others) voted for the cover that you see on newsstands this month. Amanda and I lobbied Jim to choose it, even though he had another favorite, and he graciously went with our advice. But that doesn't mean we all didn't absolutely adore the other options.
It made us wonder: What if we put the question to our readers? Which would you have chosen, had you been staring at that tackboard for days on end?
• Would you have chosen, as we did, the cover featuring Dustin Pittsley and Jesse Aycock — with the splashy pops of red? (top left)
• Would you have chosen lovebirds and bandmates Cody Clinton and Desirae Roses (of Desi and Cody) against a faded but colorful brick wall? (top right)
• Would you have chosen the alternate option for Pittsley and Aycock, with the pair looking more casual and joined by Aycock's pal Scruff the dog? (bottom left)
• Would you have chosen the spare but engaging image of Fiawna Forté hoisting her trusty Gibson acoustic? (bottom right)
Did we get it right, or blow it completely? Sound off in the comments!