This issue marks 15 years of REASON. The very first issue appeared in May 1968. Created by Boston University journalism student Lanny Friedlander, it was six pages long, mimeographed, and went to about 100 people. By the time Manny Klausner, Tibor Machan, and I (along with three other partners) took it over at the end of 1970, it had become a handsome, offset-printed magazine—but still had less than 500 subscribers.
From 1971 through 1977 REASON grew to over 15,000 subscribers, despite being run on a volunteer basis by a part-time staff. As Marty Zupan documents (see pages 53–57 of this issue), the magazine attracted an exciting collection of writers—people like Edith Efron, Alan Reynolds, Paul Craig Roberts, Thomas Szasz, and many others—and interviewed people such as F.A. Hayek (before he won his Nobel Prize) and Ronald Reagan (long before he was elected president).
A major milestone occurred in REASON's 10th year: creation of the Reason Foundation. With the support of a full-time think tank behind it, the magazine took a quantum leap forward—in design, in circulation (now approaching 35,000), and in content, most notably with the development of an active program of investigative journalism. These efforts have borne fruit in the form of major media coverage of REASON stories (including five on network TV) and three national journalism awards.
For this special anniversary issue we've gone all out to bring you a memorable collection of material: an investigative article on private-enterprise airport control towers, major articles by major contributors, reports from our correspondents overseas, and a look behind the scenes with yours truly. I hope you like it.
There are follow-ups to several REASON articles to report on this month. First of all, a federal district judge has upheld our contention that the First Amendment shields investment newsletters from regulation by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The court ruled in February in the case of Christopher Lowe, one of the publishers discussed in our January cover story. For their February 3 story on the case, the Washington Post called our coauthor, Michael McMenamin, and quoted him praising the decision as a "tremendous ruling for the First Amendment."
Other media have been taking up topics aired by REASON. Eight months after our cover story (May 1982) on James Ramsey's proposal to sell off the New York subway system, National Review has published Professor Ramsey's own piece on that issue (Feb. 4, 1983). And an anonymous reader has sent us a copy of an article from a recent issue of Outside, portraying eco-terrorists as "eco-pranksters," in contrast to our sober February article on that subject by Ron Arnold.
Durk and Sandy are finishing work on a new book and traveling a lot to do interviews, so they've asked to be able to take an occasional break from providing their Health & Welfare column every month. That explains their absence this month—but they'll be back.
We've been touched and tickled by some of the notes sent in by original subscribers in response to our query a few months back. This excerpt is typical of the kudos we've received: "I subscribed in 1968 and have not missed a year since. Over the years I have been delighted at your continued success and improvement." Said another: "Ever since I subscribed in 1969, it has been my favorite magazine. Moreover, after all this time, I still look forward to REASON 's arrival each month (weekly would be better)."
We stirred memories of format: "I began taking REASON when it was stapled together by hand" or "I vaguely remember that the first issues were poor-quality mimeographed." Some people mentioned the magazine's creator, Lanny Friedlander.
One confessed, "Yes, I go back to Massachusetts and Friedlander," and asked, "What penalty do I suffer?" Perhaps another subscriber has the answer: "I believe that I am an early subscriber, for in the interval I have grown old, lost most of my mind, and all of my memory—well, nearly, anyway." But the same reader heartened us with the reassurance: "I am sure REASON will last as long as our nation does, at least. If we survive, REASON will have contributed its full share."
Thank you, fans! We hope you're still with us in 1998.