35th Anniversary: The '90s

They say a magazine is the personification of its chief editor. And my career editing magazines has always reflected two things about me — a tendency to emphasize the positive and a desire to empower people to improve their lives. I led this great publication at a time when there was a lot to cheer about.

The Jacobs family built Jacobs Field (and the Indians won the divison); the music industry built the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (and Yoko Ono showed up for the opening ceremony); and Drew Carey landed a TV show (and it was all, unabashedly, about Cleveland). The Warehouse District, Flats and University Circle were humming along. University Hospitals of Cleveland and the Cleveland Clinic made us proud to live in one of the world’s premier health care destinations. And the Cleveland Museum of Art and Cleveland Orchestra were — and remain — world class.

Those assets make Cleveland one of the best places in the world to put down roots. This sense of Cleveland as home inspired the initiative of which I am most proud: launching the annual “Rating the Suburbs” feature package.

Cleveland certainly had its share of problems — the schools were sick, development was stalled and Art Modell stole the Browns. The magazine covered and mourned these things as well, and I tried to provide readers with different perspectives, accurate context and workable solutions. But the overwhelming sentiment I felt was pride. I was confident about the city’s future and I wanted to spotlight its people and their stories. (Remember our 1998 award-winning profile, “Hispanics: Portraits of a Community”? Our “Well Dressed Cleveland” issue? The “Sexy, Successful and Single” cover story?)

Yes, my Cleveland Magazine smiled on the city — and who better to do that than the many media personalities I chose to grace our covers. I always felt — as did our newsstand buyers — that Robin Swoboda, John Lanigan, Casey Coleman, Denise Dufala and Romona Robinson embodied the right kind of upbeat, reportorial perspective on a city that, for the first time in decades, had a lot to celebrate.

“When I lived in Rocky River, I felt sorry for Bay Villagers. Now that I live in Bay, you can imagine my pity for residents of Rocky River.”
— Lute Harmon
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