New Mobility was launched in 1989 to bring quality journalism to an underserved readership. Founder Sam Maddox recognized a community of wheelchair users who wanted more information on how to lead active, healthy lives and were willing to speak openly about everything from so-called “walking programs” to sexuality. He tapped seasoned writers with disabilities and college interns alike to produce a unique resource that shattered stereotypes and told real stories of living life on wheels. His greatest coup was recruiting legendary editor Barry Corbet, who led the magazine from 1991 to 2000.
In 1994, Miramar Communications purchased the magazine and continued its mission with additional resources. The company took NM from quarterly to monthly, gave it a makeover and invested in its writers and photographers more than previously possible. The result was a full-color glossy magazine with award-winning design and covers that rivaled any on the newsstand.
In 1998, Jeff Leonard bought the magazine, which dovetailed nicely with his direct-mail business, Disability Product Postcards. He formed No Limits Communications Inc., and though he had never published a magazine before, he brought the once-struggling NM into the black.
In 2010, United Spinal Association acquired New Mobility as part of a series of mergers with grass-roots disability organizations, including National Spinal Cord Injury Association and UsersFirst. Today New Mobility, edited by Tim Gilmer, remains an independent editorial voice and continues to be recognized as the premier wheelchair lifestyle publication in the world.
Since its inception, New Mobility has won many awards, including a 2006 Independent Press Award from Utne Reader; a Maggie for best buyer’s guide from the Western Publications Association; an Ozzie for best redesign from Folio; a DREAM (Disability Rights in Entertainment, Arts & Media) award from the Disability Rights Legal Center; and several EDI awards for Equality, Dignity and Independence from Easter Seals.