One of the biggest challenges every magazine faces is: What do you do with your back page?
Specifically, that means the inside back page, typically the last “edit” page in the magazine, followed by a page or more of advertising. After the cover and the contents page, it is typically the most-read page in a magazine (aside from lawyer discipline, in our case!).
When I started at Arizona Attorney Magazine years ago, we tried a variety of things, including a page dedicated to legal trivia (and even incorporating a quiz), called “End Notes.” But as time went on, we gravitated back to a traditional inside last page with commentary from folks we thought readers would appreciate (or respond to, or both). We call the page The Last Word.
Our “stable” of regularly recurring columnists has varied, but it has stayed the same over the past few years (though we are open to ideas for people to add as a regular columnists; send a note to me at firstname.lastname@example.org).
Over time, though, we found that there were more diverse voices among Arizona lawyers that should be shared. These are those people who may have no interest in writing regularly, but who have one great and compelling column in them. They have a message they feel should be conveyed. Aside from a letter to the editor, where is the magazine space for them?
That’s when we developed My Last Word—identical in appearance and word count to The last Word, but open to any lawyer who has something to say. (Like all content, submissions are reviewed for appropriateness, timeliness and relevance.)
If you or someone you know is interested in pursuing a column, write to me (email@example.com).
The May issue contains a compelling example of My Last Word. Written by Don Bayles, Jr., it addresses the heartbreaking problem of violence against women and girls in Indian reservations. The challenges include jurisdiction and vast distances, and they are substantial.
Here is how Don opened his column:
“Horrific violence toward women and children on southwestern tribal lands continues to disappoint. Up to 90 percent of girls in Hopi villages can expect to be sexually molested, according to a September 2012 interview with Arlene Honanie, the wife of the tribe’s vice chairman. Ms. Honanie said that this happens, at least in part, because offenders are so rarely punished. A nearby advocate for reservation victims offered a similar observation in cases involving the Navajo Nation. Speaking to a New York Times reporter, Caroline Antone said, ‘I know only a couple of people who have not been raped, out of hundreds.’ If these reports are even roughly accurate, the Rule of Law within our adjacent Indian nations has lost credibility. As one human rights leader has said, ‘If you’re not safe, nothing else matters.’”
You should read Don’s entire column, here.Follow @azatty