Somehow, the fact that I had nieces and nephews came up in our conversation, and she handed me a copy of a magazine I’d never seen or heard of prior to that moment: Dig Magazine.
First, I was excited: what a fabulous magazine!! Published in NH, no less! I wish this publication had been available when I was growing up.
And then, I was puzzled and a little frustrated. Why wasn’t this magazine more widely available?
For anyone interested in archaeology (or paleontology–as they are including more of this topic as well), “Dig” offers fun facts, interesting articles, games, and great pictures throughout its pages.
Kids are encouraged to ask questions (online and by mail), take quizzes, and draw pictures.
It is a marvelous and entertaining way to introduce kids to these sciences.
And, for young girls–for whom strong and intelligent role models in many magazines can be rare–the archaeologist behind “Dr. Dig” is a woman.
I wanted to know more.
Rosalie F. Baker, Editor of Calliope Magazines, was extraordinarily kind in her responses to my emailed questions.
(March 2013 cover, courtesy of ePals Media)
1. How long has “Dig” been published?
DIG began publication in 1999.
2. What prompted its creation?
A desire to inspire children to be inquisitive about the past. Even more, we wanted to further their understanding of how archaeologists uncover the past and then analyze finds to expand the known “picture” of the past.
(January 2014 cover, courtesy of ePals Media)
3. How did the archeologist (Dr. Dig) come on board?
Everyone thought it would be a great idea to have a department where kids could ask questions about archaeology. We felt the best way to personalize this for kids was to create a character who would be present in every issue—Dr. Dig!
Her full name is Angela Murock Hussein. She has a doctorate from Brown University in Classical Archaeology and is married to an Egyptian Egyptologist.
(October 2013 cover, courtesy of ePals Media)
4. Why isn’t “Dig” more widely available? Often, the only option kids have along these lines in local bookstores is “Kids” (National Geographic). Does this reflect challenges to magazines in general?
Getting the message out about the magazine is always a challenge. We are trying to become better known. But the magazine is available on most newsstands that carry children’s publications, such as Barnes and Noble. We’re also in hundreds of public and school libraries across the country. We believe the addition of our digital edition will also increase our visibility. A PDF version is currently available and a fully interactive digital edition will be launched in 2014. We believe the articles in each issue are exciting, engaging, and offer the latest information known on the topic as they are written by people in the field. We hope our content and our marketing push will help the magazine grow.
(May 2013 cover, courtesy of ePals Media)
5. How did you become involved in the magazine?
My husband and I had founded CALLIOPE magazine in 1981 and merged with Cobblestone Publishing in 1982. We featured an archaeology section in CALLIOPE. It seemed a perfect fit for me when Cobblestone took over DIG in 2001. And I have enjoyed every minute of it since.
(January 2013 cover, courtesy of ePals Media)
6. Has the magazine grown since its inception? Are there any significant changes that have been made over time?
Yes, the magazine is continually growing. In fact, we just added a new department (Blogosaurus) —a column that focuses on the latest news about dinosaurs. While their study falls under the field of paleontology, many of our readers send us questions about dinosaurs and the new theories and finds. So, we thought we would feature a one-page department that presents a new find, a new way of thinking, or a fascinating discovery and then encourages readers to send us their thoughts on the topic. In January we will introduce a second new department – Field Notes—which is done with the Leon Levy Expedition, whose work focuses on the site of Ashkelon in Israel. We will be right onsite with the authors, engaged in digging, learning what tools are used, what happens when a find is made, and much more.
(July 2013 cover, courtesy of ePals Media)
7. Do you have any anecdotes about publishing the magazine or its readers that you’d like to share?
I think what is most exciting now are the Ask Dr. Dig programs we are developing. We have done four so far in different parts of the country. Some have been at large venues, others at small venues. Our intent is to offer more in 2014. The Dr. Dig program is about 60 to 90 minutes (last one, however, ran 120 minutes). An archaeologist dressed in the character of Dr. Dig lets attendees ask “Dr. Dig” questions they have always wanted to ask an archaeologist in person. Sometimes the archaeologist also does a presentation – a project that is related to some practice in the field of archaeology.
Check out the DIG Magazine website! http://www.digonsite.com/index.html
Ask Dr. Dig a question: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or see questions she has already answered: http://www.digonsite.com/drdig/index.html
Learn more about Dr. Dig (Dr. Angela Murock Hussein)! http://www.digonsite.com/drdig/AboutDrDg.html
Do you have a child (or a niece or nephew) who loves to draw? Check out their Art page: http://digonsite.com/awesomeart.html
If your local bookstore doesn’t carry this magazine, please ask them to start doing so! Your voice matters.
Many, many thanks to Rosalie Baker for her generous responses and her time! And many, many thanks to Ann Dillon at ePals Media for the images of Dig covers!
(November 2013 cover, courtesy of ePals Media)