Giving Back the Magazine


As the new year rolls out, so too does a welcoming message from T.H.E.'s new editorial director.

Ever reluctantly give away something you dearly treasured? I recently had such an experience. No big deal, really. But life is filled with such little moments that ripple forward and by whatever principles of physics and fate, make bigger waves later on.

Blame it on the oxygen levels in Denver. I was on an airport shuttle, tired, and ready to return to the much cleaner air in (ahem) Los Angeles. Sitting next to me was a middle-aged Asian woman. We sat quietly for a while. Finally, I asked if she had been to the T+L2 conference. Turns out, she was with the Phranakhon Rajubhat University, (Thailand), in search of good ideas to bring back to her school of education. I opened up my bag and spread out over our laps a myriad of publications I had picked up. One caught her eye—it had an article on “Building a Virtual High School”…click by click, as the cover said.

Out of all the magazines I had collected that day, I really didn’t want to give that one up. In fact, I had surrounded it with a “don’t take this one” force field. Of course, this just pulled her straight in and I saw her eyeing it even more thoroughly. For a conservative woman who didn’t say as much as an audible word, she seemed to be asking me something quite loudly with her smiling eyes. I smiled back weakly. “Would you like this one?” I asked. As I studied her face for a reply, I didn’t think she could smile back any wider, but when I pointed to the cover she liked, she did. Then she pulled away. “Oh, no,” she said in a polite, softly accented tone. “I couldn’t. Are you sure?” “Yes,” I said. “It’s yours. Take it. Let me know if it helps you.”

When I got off the shuttle that day, I sighed deeply and smiled. It felt good just to let it go. My generous treat. That was late October.

In December, I almost missed an e-mail from Matt Miller, the former managing and Web editor of this publication. (He’ll be staying on as an invaluable contributing editor while moving even closer to education in a return to his alma mater.) Ironically enough, the magazine I had given away that day on the airport shuttle, T.H.E. Journal, was looking for a new editor. Matt, Editor-in-Chief Kathy Grayson, and Publisher Wendy LaDuke were interested in knowing if I would come aboard. What I didn’t know was that T.H.E.’s main offices were just a short drive from where I live. It had been several years since I’d left the joy of magazine editing. Now, for a split second, my mind flashed back to the woman on the shuttle. What I gave away on a brief ride I was getting back in the greater journey. It would be my privilege, I thought.

There are times when all of us are called on to “give away the magazine”—to give of ourselves in uncomfortable circumstances, even if it seems like it’s no big deal if we choose not to. I’ll bet you can think back, and without much effort, come up with some examples of when you were called on to give up something you really wanted to keep for yourself. What happened as a result? I’d love to hear your stories!

As the new editorial director, working alongside this venerable publication’s Editor-at-Large Geoff Fletcher and Executive Editor Jeff Weinstock, I’ll ensure we provide you with the content that you need and want. In sum, I’ll ensure there’s a home for you in these pages, preserving a tradition of excellence, at a magazine with a legacy of reality-based learning and leadership. So once again, I’m giving back the magazine. It’s yours. Please, take it—and let me know how it helps you.

Victor is editorial director of this publication. He can be reached at [email protected].

This article originally appeared in the 02/01/2006 issue of THE Journal.

About the Author

Victor is editorial director of this publication. He can be reached at [email protected]