Transitions

A change in roles here at the magazine.

I took over this magazine in December of 2010, and for nearly three years it has been an absolute thrill. By my count, I have been at the helm for 34 issues, and, in what comes as something of a surprise to me, I have distinct memories from the production of each one of them.

We’ve done some fine work along the way. I’m very proud to say that Longform, Longreads, and Byliner—those respected aggregators of high-quality longform journalism—have spotlighted 17 different features we’ve run. After re-launching our website in February, we doubled traffic in four months. The behind-the-scenes photos we ran of the marathon-bombings manhunt made international news. And, of course, there was our running-shoe cover, a labor of love that wound up raising money for the One Fund.

So, yes, I am proud of all of that, and I am honored to have worked shoulder to shoulder with the talented Boston magazine journalists who made it happen. The truth, though, is that for at least a year I have felt something missing. And as the issues rolled by, I began to understand what it was: the satisfaction that I get from writing. Editing a magazine is a staggeringly creative endeavor, but its rewards—to me, at least—are less immediate than the ones that come with reporting and writing a story. What I gradually came to see was that, after assigning the stories in the magazine, I longed to write all of them, too. That, of course, is simply impossible, which is what brings me to this bit of news today.

After much thought, plenty of anguish, and a number of conversations with my boss, the magazine’s CEO, Rick Waechter, I have decided to step down as editor. Though I’d say that Rick’s reaction could fairly be characterized as “disappointed,” he has been extremely supportive through this process. In fact, he convinced me to carve out an editor-at-large position that provides me with a desk, a phone, a computer, and the opportunity to contribute regularly to the magazine. In other words, I may no longer be running the place, but I won’t be going anywhere.

This transition is made much easier for me because of my recent hiring of Carly Carioli as our executive editor. Carly, as many of you will know, used to run the Boston Phoenix. He is a friend, but he’s also an extremely talented and experienced journalist who will be named acting editor while Rick conducts a formal search for a new permanent editor. For what it’s worth, I’ve made it clear to Rick that I think Carly would make an outstanding editor.

Because of the somewhat bumpy history with the magazine’s editorial leadership, I’d like to take this opportunity to make a couple of other things clear: I have very much enjoyed—even loved—my time editing this magazine. I have received nothing but support and encouragement from Rick. And the decision I make today is entirely mine. Though a part of me is saddened to be stepping down, for the most part I am terrifically excited. In addition to the writing I’ll be doing for Boston magazine, I have some big projects lined up in other publications, and I am in the early stages of a book proposal that appears to have genuine potential.

In closing, I’d just like to thank you, the readers of Boston magazine. It has been an honor to edit the publication that so many of you hold dear.


John Wolfson
John Wolfson John Wolfson, Editor at Large at Boston Magazine bmagdigital+jwolfson@gmail.com