This being my last “First Words,” I have struggled to conjure something profound and insightful, or at least clever, to leave you with. But I am coming up short. So I’ll just skip the philosophical and offer a few observations. Forgive me if I repeat myself. I’ll try not to get sentimental.
From Washington State Magazine’s inception, we have followed the simple principle that we would not produce anything we would not read ourselves. Add that to our tagline—“Connecting you to Washington State University, the State, the World”—and I believe we’ve created a pretty successful formula.
There are many things we deliberately decided not to be. We are not a long-winded brochure. Neither are we a fundraising vehicle. Most important, we are not produced by committee. Rather, we are a magazine. Which means, as our mission states, that we cover “news and issues of interest to Washington State University faculty, staff, students, and alumni and the people of Washington from Seattle to St. John.”
Fortunately, you agree with our approach. In reader surveys and less formally, you have been very clear about what you are most interested in: research, statewide issues, and WSU’s involvement in the affairs of the state and world.
I cannot imagine a more stimulating and fascinating challenge.
Beyond a shift in the masthead, not much about the magazine will change, at least immediately. I imagine there’s a redesign on the horizon. There will probably be an increasing web presence, but as a complement rather than a substitute. I suspect the voice will change a bit. But not dramatically. You have been hearing that voice through all of us, not just yours truly.
Larry Clark ’94 will continue to be “managing editor.” But he will also become the one where the buck stops. Hannelore Sudermann will share leadership with Larry and become the “content editor.” John Paxson will continue, exquisitely, to art direct and more. Eric Sorensen will continue to report on university research in his unique and lively style. He will also share that overwhelming beat with a new staff member.
Nick Deshais joined us this fall. He will split his time between science writing for the magazine and bringing the popular Dr. W.S. Universe back from her extended sabbatical.
Telling the story of WSU has been a large part of my identity for the past 24 years. Much as I’m looking forward to my new ventures, it will be very strange to shut down my computer and close my office door for the last time. But it’s time to direct my attention elsewhere.
In whatever direction my friends and colleagues take this magazine, I am confident it will continue to be lively, beautiful, and adept at interpreting the myriad endeavors of this great university and state. Indeed, I look forward to opening the May issue, having joined you as an engaged and expectant reader.
Tim Steury, Editor