The day before I started as editor of City Paper, my new boss, publisher Nancy Stuski, sent me an email telling what I could expect to see when I walked in the front door: The paper is preparing to move from Old City to offices near City Hall, and some boxes are already packed. And the current building recently experienced a flood.
“That’s it?” I responded. In the last year, as editor of the Northeast Times, the office had been without power for four days thanks to Superstorm Sandy, and an arson fire in November had wrecked the newsroom. We’d been working from a temporary home for nine months.
As everyone who still clings passionately to this love affair with journalism knows, change and disruption are the two winds that never stop blowing.
As I take the helm, I bring to City Paper a desire to continue our special brand of speaking truth to power, to enhance the paper’s storytelling in words and photos and to unleash new voices. It does not hurt that I spent 18 years as an editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer and know many talented writers in the Inky diaspora.
You can expect to see the arts and entertainment coverage remain edgy and robust, and the editors’ picks to give you the best inside knowledge. You can bet that we’ll keep plumbing the scene for food coverage that is delicious.
The first and foremost challenge, though, and the place where you will see the most difference right away, will be on our website, citypaper.net. On Monday, the website was freed from the tangle of Philly.com and a new design — months in the creation — was launched. Though we believe we are off to a good start, the web is never done and content on the site will increase exponentially over the coming months.
This career in journalism has been a fascinating journey from typewriters to Twitter. My experience cuts across large metros, weekly papers and the wire services, but this is my first alt-weekly.
In my interview, I was asked why I thought I could make the transition. My answer: I was a Presbyterian managing editor for four years at the Jewish Daily Forward. Good questions are the soft breezes that give fresh life to every brand of journalism: Why is this important? Do we need to explain this better? Why would our readers care?
Those questions are top of mind as I begin.
Nice to meet you.
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