A few months ago I had lunch with an editor who's been in this business for nearly 30 years. Our conversation found its way to a topic that always tends to crop up when journalists of different generations hang out together: What does it mean to be an editor and writer when journalism has become associated with aggregating instead of editing, optimizing instead of writing, clicking instead of reading?
My fellow editor was incredulous when I told her that, even if you gave me the option to magically relocate my career to the journalistic landscape of decades gone by, I would choose to stay in the modern era. It's exciting that business models are in constant flux. It's exciting that we now have lots of different ways of measuring prestige and interest, from reputation to comments to clicks to subscribers. It's exciting that editors are no longer gatekeepers, yet our skills remain indispensable. This is an era of combinations: digital and print, words and images, journalism and activism, original and curated.
For many journalists of my generation (I am 29), this excitement has been tempered by the day-to-day drudgery of convincing editors and publishers from other generations that this is, in fact, an awesome time to be in the business. Happily, now that I've accepted the job as executive editor of GOOD, bridging this divide is no longer a part of my daily working life.
Here, we all understand that "magazine" doesn't refer to the paper-and-ink product sitting on your coffee table—it's also a way of describing a community and daily reading experience. We understand that traditional advertising is not the only way to support quality journalism, and that there are many, many ways for readers to engage with our work, whether online, in print, or in person. We understand that not everything written in the first person is inconsequential fluff and that cable news and national papers are not the final arbiters of what's worthy of our attention. To us, graphics aren't just a side dish but a main course. And context is everything. GOOD is more than articles and images—it's a common denominator for people who pursue a valuable life, broadly defined. What could be more modern than that?
I'm really happy to be here at GOOD. And things are only going to get better.