A couple of years ago, it occurred to me that I’d been doing this job for a while. This was during the pandemic, mind you, when we all had time to ruminate unproductively on basic life circumstances.
It struck me that the total number of monthly and bi-monthly PHOENIX magazine issues published since November 2013, when my predecessor handed me the reins, might be nearing 100. Doing some not-advanced math, I projected my 100th issue to drop sometime in early 2023.
Et voilà, as my French ancestors would say.
Now, I admit this isn’t exactly Cal Ripken Jr. playing in 2,632 consecutive games, or Meryl Streep winning her eighth Oscar, but as milestones go in this distressed racket we call print journalism, it’s not insignificant. Those 100 issues encompass approximately 18,000 pages, which is a lot – 15 times as many as War and Peace, in fact (though, unlike me, Tolstoy never had the luxury of padding his page counts with double-truck photography and calendar listings).
“[T]his isn’t exactly Cal Ripken Jr. playing in 2,632 consecutive games, or Meryl Streep winning her eighth Oscar, but as milestones go in this distressed racket we call print journalism, it’s not insignificant.”
For better or worse, this 4-foot stack of dyed wood pulp is probably the most tangible, lasting evidence of my 27-year journalism career – and certainly more meaningful than the many AOL listicles I churned out during a lean stretch in 2008-2009. But mostly it offers occasion to think about all the great human beings I’ve worked with, starting with managing editor extraordinaire Leah LeMoine, who’s been my partner through each of these 100 production moons. I know this because she was the first person I hired upon taking the job.
Also: our dynamo of an art director, Mirelle Inglefield, who took over the design of the magazine in 2015 and opened up worlds of editorial expression I didn’t know existed beforehand; and deputy art director Angelina Aragon and associate editor Maddie Rutherford, who round out the most harmonious and productive staff we’ve ever had at PHOENIX.
And I’d be remiss not to include “the suits” – i.e. the good people who sustain the machinery upon which the magazine is built, including our genial president and publisher, Brett Wilson, a veteran of many publishing campaigns, whose stories from the trenches have enriched my understanding of what it means to be a journalist.
Well, there I go – sounding like Meryl Streep accepting another Oscar. It’s obviously not that big a deal. But there is a joyously rendered food story in this January/February PHOENIX, along with a bunch of Super Bowl-related content, which if nothing else helped me brush up on my Roman numeral rules.