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Everything you always wanted to know but never asked, until we asked you

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On the occasion of our 30th anniversary, we thought it appropriate to reveal the wizard behind the curtain, so to speak, and answer your Twitter-received questions about Oklahoma Gazette behind the scenes. Now you know.

What's the deciding factor on what goes on the cover?
"Our team of editors, designers and marketing people, along with the associate publisher, looks at our lineup of news, arts, food and entertainment stories and decides what the readers would most need or want to know about that week," said Jill Brown, marketing director.    

"Then we come up with an art concept and make sure it's provocative, unconventional and engaging to encourage people to pick it up off the racks. The team also ensures that there is lots of variety on the covers " not just news and not just entertainment every week."

"Yeah," said Jeffri-Lynn Dyer, associate publisher. "What she said."

Who writes Chicken-Fried News?
The real question is, who doesn't write Chicken-Fried News? It's a collaborative effort that is comprised of the writing of four to five staff members, then lovingly illustrated by graphic designer Brad Gregg for that extra "oomph."

For more on the history of Chicken-Fried News, see this week's installment.

Does the ShopGirl have a real expense account, or does she have to payfor all those items herself?
"Ha, expense account. What is that again? We're an independent weekly, folks, not Vogue," said Jenny Coon Peterson, copy editor and author of the ShopGirl column. "I actually don't allow myself to buy a single thing when I'm on the ShopGirl prowl, or my column would quickly change to BrokeGirl and then BankruptcyGirl. Instead, I visit each shop, talk to owners and managers, and write about the products so you can buy them."

She added that she has gone back to stores later, "to buy things I can't stop thinking about, but not when I'm writing and not with company money."

Do your food reviewers get to eat for free?
"No, the writers are not 'on the take,' and as a matter of strict policy, do not eat for free in any establishment they review. The final bill is paid by the writer, and he or she is reimbursed by the Gazette," said Carol Smaglinski, food editor. "When reviewing a restaurant, the 'hired belly' does not reveal his or her identity until after the bill has been paid and at times, not at all, because they do not want preferential treatment and want to be served just as any other customer.

"Otherwise, if the chef knows a review is happening, the food starts flying out of the kitchen and the reviewer cannot possibly form an accurate impression of the meal. But most importantly, the experience would not be the same when our readers go out to eat at that particular restaurant for a meal after reading the review."

Boxers or briefs?
An informal office poll reveals boxers.

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