Far From City Lights

Aug 15th, 2009 | By | Category: 21-1: Celebrating Tribal College Journal's 20th Anniversary, Features, Profiles
By Patty Talahongva

Current TCJ staff brings variety of talents, enthusiasm for their work

DOWNTOWN MANCOS. On the right is a scene from one of two main streets in Mancos, CO. Photo by Barbara Grist

Far from the glitzy streets of New York or Los Angeles… where many of this nation’s magazines are published… and on the edge of the famed Four Corners Region in the town of Mancos, CO …is the home of the Tribal College Journal (TCJ). Tucked away in the Rocky Mountains, it’s much like the tribal colleges it serves, far from big city lights but producing a quality product that rivals anything the cities have to offer.

A staff of three full-time employees and two consultants produce what they all call the “voice and vision of the tribal colleges.” Each one plays a specific role in producing the magazine, and like each issue they publish, they each have their own story of how they got to TCJ and why they love their job so much.

The first thing you’ll notice is that they are all women, except of course, Walt Pourier (Oglala Lakota) who is the magazine’s designer. The first thing they’ll tell you is they are uncomfortable being the focus of a story. Yet when you’re celebrating 20 years of business, you should highlight the folks who’ve helped you reach that milestone.

The most important thing that emerged from the interviews is their commitment to covering tribal colleges and letting the world know about the positive impact tribal colleges are having on their communities.

Rachael Marchbanks Has Seen Many Changes over 12 Years

PUBLISHER RACHAEL MARCHBANKS. Over the past 12 years, she's worked in advertising, subscriptions, and marketing, and now Marchbanks holds the head position at TCJ. Photo by Barbara Grist

Finding herself at the head position of TCJ – the publisher – is Rachael Marchbanks, who notes with a chuckle that she’s spent more than a third of her life at the magazine. She was still a student at Fort Lewis College (Durango, CO) when she started working at the magazine doing office work and later marketing and advertising.

Marchbanks has truly worked her way up to publisher. “Sometimes I tell people I might have a fancy title, but it also includes taking out the trash and making sure there are towels in the bathroom,” she laughs. She quickly mentions also sending out those renewal notices!

As publisher she oversees the day-to-day operations and manages the overall business strategy. She works directly with the office manager and various consultants to coordinate and manage circulation, printing, and promotions. She oversees the advertising coordinator, promoting print and online ad sales; and she works closely with the designer and editor in the production of the publication.

Marchbanks has seen many changes at the magazine during her 12 years there, and one big one is the technology that makes it easier to publish the magazine.

“I remember one time there was an issue with a photo on the cover that was too dark and at that point it was already printed and there was nothing we could do about it. Now, with the way we publish the magazine, the way that we proof it, that is much less likely to happen,” she says. That was back when they used film for all the photos and ads.

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