ALL EARS® Celebrates 400 Issues

by Debra Martin Koma, ALL EARS® Senior Editor

Feature Article

This article appeared in the May 22, 2007 Issue #400 of ALL EARS® (ISSN: 1533-0753)

There's really nothing that special about the number 400, is there? It doesn't have the profound connotations of "1," which is, I've been told, the loneliest number. Nor does it have the sexy significance of a number like 1,000,000 or even 1,000,000,000. No, in the greater scheme of things the number 400 is really rather unimportant and insignificant…

Except to us — because this issue of the ALL EARS® newsletter is… number 400!

Can you believe it? I scarcely can myself. I never imagined when I met Deb Wills almost 10 years ago (yes, Deb, it will be 10 in July!) that our road together would lead us here. Four hundred issues of Disney-related news and views, reviews, previews, interviews… all since September 1999. We're up to nearly 85,000 subscribers now, as well. That's nearly 85,000 of you who look to this newsletter every week for a Disney fix.

We don't take the responsibility lightly.

A milestone like this gives us an opportunity to reflect. We couldn't, and obviously we wouldn't, put the newsletter out without the support of each and every one of you — you are, of course, our biggest reason for doing this newsletter, and your words of encouragement help feed our souls and give us the inspiration we need to carry on. When we last celebrated such a milestone, way back at our 300th issue nearly two years ago, we talked about how, even after all this while, we still felt the magic. Felt "pixie-dusted," if you will. Do we still feel that way? I think I can safely speak for the entire ALL EARS® team when I say, "Yes. Yes, we do!"

And that feeling of being sprinkled with pixie dust and wanting to share the magic explains WHY we keep on doing this, week after week, for 400 issues and more. But it doesn't really tell you HOW we manage to do it… And as I started to write this article I realized that I really wanted to take a moment or two to share with you HOW we get this newsletter out every week.

Not the step-by-step process of gathering and reporting the news, or the technical steps it takes to actually get this newsletter uploaded and sent out through our mail distribution system.

No, when I say "how we get the newsletter out," I mean how we, Deb and Deb, just the two of us, are able to get the newsletter published every week. And the answer to that HOW is this: It's not just the two of us. We have a team of a few key, wonderful people, all volunteers, who make it possible. That's HOW we get it done.

We do it with the help of our guest columnists, readers like you, who have an idea about something Disney-related that they'd like to share with everyone else, and so they submit their columns to us. Thanks!

We do it with the help of our regular feature writers, who create an essay or a review or some other article for us several times a year, enlightening us with their wit, their insight, their knowledge about some aspect of the Disney experience. We so appreciate that.

We wouldn't be able to do the newsletter every week without the help of Dotti Saroufim, who not only edits the weekly Anita Answer column and proofreads this newsletter, but also acts as our photo editor, sifting through hundreds of submissions each week to find the perfect Photo of the Week.

And speaking of Anita Answer, Anita' s always entertaining and informative column helps make not only the newsletter, but the website itself, just that much better every week.

We manage to get the newsletter out with the help of Jack Spence, one of our local team members, who not only contributes dining reviews on a regular basis, but also checks out goings on around the parks for us, and takes wonderful photos for us to share with our readers.

We also do it with the aid of Linda Mac, another local, who investigates rumors and reports on newsy findings for us, and takes amazing photographs, sometimes snapping 100 shots just to find two dozen good ones for our Wandering the World or other pages. Linda is also instrumental in helping us get our Universal Orlando pages up and running as we try to spread our wings a bit and go beyond the Disney theme parks.

We owe a lot to yet another friend, local Kenny Cottrell, who is in the parks more than he is at his own home, we think, and we appreciate his willingness to always help out, uncover some facts or verify something we're not sure of.

Our newsletter, and the website, have also been enhanced through the efforts of Laura Gilbreath, our Disneyland correspondent, who has been vigilant about keeping our California theme parks pages current, with both information and photographs.

Where would we be without the behind-the-scenes technical aid of Jack Marshall, who keeps things flowing smoothly when our limited computer knowledge fails us (which is often!)? And then there's Fred Block, who, among other amazing accomplishments, helped us get our blogging careers off the ground. And things would definitely not run as seamlessly without Cathy Bock, who helps out with updating webpages, Linda Eckwerth, who handles administrative tasks, and Gloria Konsler, who puts her 30-some years of Disney-going experience to good use by answering much of our reader mail.

And of course we can't forget our numerous readers and contributors who grace our inboxes with little tidbits every week that we'd never find out on our own — even though some of you want to remain "anonymouse" for various reasons, we know who you are and appreciate all you do.

Finally, we are able to put the newsletter out each and every week with the sponsorship of our loyal advertisers, who make the continuation of our efforts possible.

So, when you add up all those names, you probably don't even come close to 400 — I'm not sure you even approach 40! But each and every person I mentioned is integral to the success of this publication, and is in some way responsible for these 400 past issues… and the 400 more I see on the horizon.

As we look to what's next for Walt Disney World, and for ALL EARS®, I must say that I'm hoping our relationships continue to grow in such a positive way, and that in two years time I'll be writing again, celebrating our 500th issue with as much anticipation and enthusiasm as I have now.

So that's HOW we do it… sharing the Magic, in all its manifestations, with all of you. To paraphrase what I wrote 100 issues ago, 400 issues is nothing. We plan to keep cranking ALL EARS® out as long as you'll have us in your email inboxes.

As for right now, though… well, I have to start working on issue number 401…

Wishing you all Peace, Love and Mickey Mouse!

Editor-in-Chief Note: One very important person has been left out of the above accolades and that is Debra Martin Koma, Senior Editor of All Ears®. Her wit and way with words makes the newsletter sparkle each week. Her unending enthusiasm is contagious and she helps all of us write like polished authors! A tip of my Minnie ears to you, Debbie! Kudos to the whole team, our readers and our advertisers!!


Editor's Note: This story/information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all current rates, information and other details before planning your trip.