Our PIONEER Legacy
This article originally appeared in Vol.51, No.4 (2004) of pioneer magazine.
by Kent V. Lott, 2004 National President
The first issue of the Pioneer, Volume 1 Number 1, came out in June of 1936. This first issue was dedicated to the pioneers, as follows;
“To these we dedicate this publication THE PIONEER with the hope to promote the spirit and courage of the pioneers of the West in our everyday work. Let the rugged, courageous, /earless and friendly lives of the pioneer forefathers of the West radiate into our own lives and let us also remember that the past is for reference and for reverence and that new and different frontiers be ahead of us which are equally difficult to conquer which will id-tally affect our own nidus trial, economic and. social progress. ”
Since that first issue, the format has changed from the original one-color black and white to a full four-color publication to make it more attractive in a preferred reading style that is appealing to a broader audience than members of sup only. However, the purpose and mission of the magazine remains as stated in the bylaws of the organization:
“The National Society of the Sons of Utah Pioneers honors early pioneers foe their faith in God, devotion to family, loyalty to church and country, hard work, service to others, courage in adversity, personal integrity and unyielding determination.
“The Society also honors modern-day pioneers, both young and older, who exemplify these same ideals. We aim to demonstrate and teach these qualities to youth and all others whom we can influence. We hope to keep alive the ideals of true manhood and womanhood, which cause ordinary people to achieve nobility.“The Pioneer magazine supports the mission of the Society. It will publish the story of the Utah Pioneers with high standards of professional skill and historical accuracy in an attractive and popular format. Its Editorial Theme is that the achievements of the Utah Pioneers resulted from their faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
The magazine is not designed to be a scholarly publication primarily for professional historians; other organizations perform that function in an admirable manner. The Pioneer is meant to appeal to writers and readers from all walks of life who are interested in learning about and preserving the history and the heritage of the pioneers. Also, it is not designed as a publication for just the members of the Sons of Utah Pioneers. Other internal publications such as the National Newsletter, which is distributed by e-mail to chapter presidents, and chapter newsletters should fill the need for internal SUP communications.
Much is being said about electronic communications. However, high-quality books and magazines are not being replaced by e-mail and web pages. Our opinion is that there will long be a need for such publications as the Pioneer. Tire need for a magazine, like the Pioneer, that stands for pioneer virtues such as faith in God, devotion to family, loyalty to church and country, hard work, service and integrity, is much greater than it was in 1936 given the moral problems that society faces in 2004. We receive many favorable comments from other Utah and pioneer history organizations and many individuals about the Pioneer. Such comments give us great incentive to continue the efforts to keep the magazine as an integral part of what we do at the Sons of Utah Pioneers.
There is always the struggle to provide funding to support continued publication of the magazine. The publications committee has put forth many efforts to make the magazine self-sustaining; some of these are successful, some are not. Costs are minimized where possible; for example, no writers are paid for articles. Attempts at increasing advertising revenue and the number of subscribers need to be redoubled.
A magazine trust fund is being established; every issue of the Pioneer includes a page updating the status of the trust fund. Income from this could help the magazine to be continually self-sustaining. The officers are suggesting that SUP chapters and members voluntarily contribute to this fund. Also, gift subscriptions would help us increase the subscription income. If everyone who now receives the magazine would give one gift subscription, a tremendous influx of revenue for the magazine, offsetting printing costs, would result.
A combination of all of these possibilities will surely provide for the long-term future of the Pioneer magazine. We are sure that the officers and the publications committee will redouble efforts to maintain low costs and increase revenue. We hope that members and readers of the Pioneer will join with us in efforts to increase the trust fund and the number of subscribers whenever possible. We hope that the good that the Sons of Utah Pioneers has accomplished since 1936 with the Pioneer will extend far into the future.