Practicing What We Preach
By continuing to make changes for the better, we’re following our own advice.
IN THIS JOB, I have to be a good reader. Sometimes it helps to be a good listener, too. So I was all ears while going through our Editorial Director Geoff Fletcher’s Policy & Advocacy column this month (see “It’s Our Business, Too,” page 44 in our magazine). Fletcher contends that one of education’s primary threats is inertia. He sees lessons in the corporate world, citing examples of high-achieving businesses standing still in the face of market changes, which ultimately had disastrous outcomes. File that under: If you’re not going forward, you’re going backward. A healthy organization undergoes constant self-monitoring, stays on top of its field, recognizes changes thataffect it, listens to its users, and acts.
So it is with magazines. The good ones evolve, advance, add new features, spruce up old ones, revamp their design, solicit better ideas, create new interest. They change when circumstances dictate it. And never in the history of publishing has the need to recognize new circumstances been greater than now. Forget about a changing market; we are in a new market, a new media, courtesy of the walloping arrival of online content. Print publications— henceforth, old media—had to recognize this shift was real and then adapt to it, or face extermination. Check the state of newspaper circulations these days. There’s enough extermination going on to make a print guy a little jumpy.
At T.H.E. Journal, we’re steering clear of inertia. In November 2005, we introduced our redesigned magazine, and in the year-plus since, we have continued to tinker with our product to maximize its quality, including altering our first page of editorial (Our Space) and our last (Extracurricular). Pardon the selfapplied pat on the back, but positive reader feedback gives us reason to think we’ve done good.
This month, with the start of a new year, we have made some more notable moves. We are introducing a new page, Keynotes, which will serve as the leadin to our editorial coverage. Keynotes calls out and directs you to some of the most compelling quotes found in the issue, and offers an offbeat roundup of a few of the issue’s highlights. You will also find a new “links” box in each of our feature stories, providing a neat listing of all the referenced organizations.
Change for its own sake, of course, can backfire (New Coke, anyone?) as surely as failing to change at all. The core of the magazine is as it always was: We will continue to cover the K-12 ed tech industry top to bottom and from every angle, analyzing, illuminating, and commenting on the issues of the day, and those that we see coming tomorrow. What can we offer that readers can’t find online? Plenty. Great design, fully fleshed-out stories—a package that has been carefully planned, distilled for optimal effect, and polished up meticulously for its unveiling. In much the same way home video will never supplant the rush of sitting in a darkened movie theater, reading information on a computer screen doesn’t measure up to holding the fresh issue of a magazine in your hands, turning to your favorite articles, and filling up on a good read.
There’s something to be said for that faithful aphorism, If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But there’s a way to keep something from getting broke, and that’s to regularly tune it up. That’s what we’ve done. We hope you like the changes we’ve made since our relaunch, including the ones we’re introducing this issue. And make sure to keep watch—we’re not ones to stand still.
— Jeff Weinstock, Executive Editor
This article originally appeared in the 01/01/2007 issue of THE Journal.