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Publisher’s Note: Reflections on a 75-Year-Old Living Legacy

Claire and Troy Johnson look back on the last seven plus decades of San Diego Magazine
Photo Credit: Matt Furman
Claire and Troy Johnson

San Diego Magazine owners Claire and Troy Johnson

Photo Credit: Matt Furman

San Diego Magazine was established in 1948 by Edwin Self, an ambitious local known for his saucy opinions on the state of San Diego journalism. Gloria Self, Edwin’s fashion-and-wine-loving wife, signed on as co-publisher soon after. The pair formed the perfect cocktail of personalities to document this coastal city’s society and culture. We imagine the two of them in their chic and sophisticated living room, martinis in hand, signing papers that would launch one of the most successful and long-lived regional magazines in the country.

The way people consume information has changed considerably since those days, as have the population and diversity of our city. Media engagement has ebbed and flowed across platforms, but local media’s purpose remains—it serves to capture the soul of a city. At SDM, we see local media as the connective tissue between communities. We recognize that we must present information that our readers want in the ways you want it, and we are striving for excellence across all media platforms.

In print, we tell stories of this city through beautiful photography and memorable, voicey writing. On our website—which is getting a facelift as we speak—we showcase all of our diverse content, including our award-winning podcasts, like Happy Half Hour, which just scored the Society of Professional Journalism’s 2022 best podcast award. In our newsletters, we curate our most compelling work for you every week.

On our social media platforms, we share new, up-to-the-minute information and engage directly with our audience. Our Instagram account also just won the first-place SPJ social media award, proof that what people want is good storytelling—no matter the size of the screen.

And at our events, all of our publishing comes alive. Through parties both big and small, we’re able to physically present our work to our readers while bringing you world-class dining and social experiences. We invite you to join us at an event this year, see what we have cooking, and get to know our huge, extended community of storytellers and fans.

The Selfs never could have envisioned this rapidly changing digital media landscape in 1948, but we like to think they would be proud of our stewardship and the direction we’re taking SDM. All day, we’re out there telling the stories of the people, businesses, and neighborhoods that create our city. The goal is to learn from each other, grow together, and evolve.

To Edwin Self, we are grateful you had this wild idea 75 years ago, and we will continue the legacy of sharing saucy, quality stories with journalistic integrity. To Gloria Self, we, too, love fashion and wine parties. We’re hosting a few of our own soon: on August 18, we’re throwing ourselves a big birthday party at the annual Best of San Diego event, and the brand-new Del Mar Wine and Food Festival debuts in September. Both events are set to be epic.

To all of you, our subscribers, listeners, followers, and event-goers, thank you for giving these stories a home. We are determined to continue to explore and uplift the creative energy and the collective art of this city—the culinary, visual, literary, and performance art that feeds our souls and teaches us about SD. And thank you to the businesses and community that support us. Because of you, San Diego Magazine will live to see another 75 years.

By Troy Johnson

Troy Johnson is the magazine’s award-winning food writer and humorist, and a long-standing expert on Food Network. His work has been featured on NatGeo, Travel Channel, NPR, and in Food Matters, a textbook of the best American food writing.

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