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No. 6 with a bullet

Paste magazine has compiled its list of the 20 best magazines of this decade, and the Conway-based Oxford American finds itself at No. 6 on that list.

Paste, which is headquartered in Georgia, was founded as a quarterly in 2002. It’s now a monthly publication. The magazine focuses on music and entertainment. Like many magazines these days, it’s struggling during this recession. It issued an urgent plea to readers for donations back in May.

I love magazines. One of my favorites, Gourmet, was a recent victim of the recession.

According to my wife, I subscribe to far too many. There’s a term around our house — “working on stacks.” It means taking full days to cull the magazines that have piled up.

The Paste editors had this to say about The Oxford American: “As we toil away down here in Decatur, Ga., it’s nice to be reminded that all great magazines don’t come from New York City. Marc Smirnoff’s Oxford American has been through its share of publishing turmoil, but its uniquely Southern voice hasn’t wavered once.”

The Oxford American appears to have found its footing as a quarterly rather than a bimonthly publication and as a nonprofit publication with a governing board on which I’m honored to serve. Thankfully, the folks at the University of Central Arkansas had the vision to ensure that this nationally recognized publication is headquartered in our state.

More good news came Tuesday when it was announced that The Oxford American will receive a $15,000 Access to Artistic Excellence grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The NEA said it chose the magazine for a grant because it “continues to highlight the work of emerging and established Southern writers and Southern culture.”

In case you’re wondering what other magazines made the Paste Top 20 list, here they are from No. 20 counting down to No. 1 —  Interview, Vanity Fair, The Word, National Geographic, Utne Reader, Real Simple, Mental Floss, Jane, Dwell, No Depression, Good, The Week, The Economist, The Atlantic, The Oxford American, The Believer, The New Yorker, New York, Esquire and Wired.

Two of the publications on the list — Jane and No Depression — are no longer in business.

Due to the efforts of a lot of good people in Arkansas, The Oxford American hopefully is here to stay.

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