Q&A with Ray Paprocki, Publisher at Open Sky Media (Gulfshore)

How would you best describe your magazine company?
The dominant magazine group in Southwest Florida with deep brand equity in its main title, Gulfshore Life, which differentiates itself in the market through its paid readership and blend of lifestyle and issue-oriented content.

What makes it special?
Our reputation for high-quality work, adherence to editorial integrity and the talented Gulfshore team, as well as our complex array of publications, whether our own or for clients.

What steps led to your current position?
The first step was a student teacher in high school encouraging me to become a writer, which set a plan in place to study journalism in college, work at newspapers for a few years and then get to the goal: magazines. Fortunately, the plan worked out sooner then I anticipated. I was fortunate to work for a long time with several outstanding people who taught me a lot about the right way to run city and regional magazines. That experience helped me weather a transition to a company that knew little about our industry (a whole other learning moment). Along the way I met a media veteran who became CEO of Open Sky Media and recruited me to Southwest Florida to run the Gulfshore division.

What’s been a career highlight?
Landing this position. Working with mentors blessed with sharp insight and a wicked sense of humor. The chance to learn from people, whether they live in a federal prison or a sprawling estate. And then there was that encounter involving a crew from 48 Hours, a county judge and a guy who faked his death.

A career lowlight?
In my previous experience in Ohio, watching good people lose their jobs during the recent upheaval in the media industry.

What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in your industry?
Aside from the obvious (advanced technology), the pace of change.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
My brain.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?
The key to my wife’s heart.

What’s the best professional advice you’ve ever received?
Publishing is in the details.

What’s the best professional advice you could offer?
Remain relevant.