Family First

With so much going on this past year, maybe we can all agree to approach 2021 with a new outlook. When you have a chance to spend time with family, take it. The phone calls and emails will be there when you get back. 
Sophia Brooks Portrait 034 Cmyk

Photo by Colin Gray


If you ever want to hear a magazine publisher laugh, tell them how nice it must be to own your own business and make your own hours. I know it always makes me chuckle.

The thing is, you do get to make up your own hours. You can choose from any of the 80 hours you’ll typically work in any given week. And if you really want to be successful, get ready to put in even longer hours. 

It’s as true today as it was with the first issue of South we put out. With my son Dodge being born the same month as that first issue, the first decade was a true balancing act, trying to raise a family while helping a magazine grow and succeed. And to me, it was vital that I get both sides of the scale perfect – to raise smart, responsible kids while helping a small team produce a magazine that could go up against any national periodical you can think of.

The thing about fatherhood is, it has about as much respect for your mental bandwidth as running a magazine does. Just when I thought I had a handle on things, my daughter Sophia had to be rushed to the hospital at a young age with an accelerated heartbeat. We found out she had a condition called SVT, and the next four years were a gauntlet of trips to the emergency room and the doctor’s office. I’m happy to say we found the right hospital and the right surgeon, and my baby girl is 100% healthy. See Sophia’s story. 

But the experience gave me a newfound appreciation for a few things. We celebrate the first of those things this issue with our look at the area’s finest doctors and medical providers. I can say from experience that we are fortunate to have such an unbelievable wealth of talent here in the South, and it’s my privilege to give them the spotlight they deserve. Especially this year, with medical professionals becoming front line heroes. See South’s Greatest Doctors.

But the second thing the experience gave me an appreciation for was my family. Like a lot of us, I’ve struggled with balancing my family and my career. When I look into my children’s eyes, I realize what all that struggle was for. This, all of this, is why we do what we do. For our family.

As South magazine was going to press, I received another reminder about the importance of family. Deadline week is always hectic, but when I saw my brother’s name on the caller ID I knew I had to answer. He was direct, and to the point. Our father had suffered a heart attack. And immediately everything else fell by the wayside. The 14-hour days of deadline, the millions of decisions that needed to be made, the frantic flurry of phone calls to clients, writers and photographers for last-minute questions, just evaporated. All that was left was getting home to Albany, Georgia, trusting in my team to keep the wheels rolling on deadline.

As I speak this, dictating it into my phone in the car for my editor to type up later, dad is on the mend. Like my daughter, he benefited from the medical expertise that has become the South’s hallmark. As always, I’m thankful to the medical professionals who have kept my loved ones healthy. And I’m thankful for my team, for stepping up and showing what rock stars they are.

Ultimately, history will pass whatever judgment it might on the magazine I’ve spent so many years building. But my true legacy will pass on forever in the sacrifices I made for my family. With so much going on this past year, maybe we can all agree to approach 2021 with a new outlook. When you have a chance to spend time with family, take it. The phone calls and emails will be there when you get back. 

Many Thanks & Keep Reading

Michael Brooks
Publisher/Creator


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