Perhaps the greatest challenge in producing a monthly publication is our long “lead time”—we have to plan our stories months in advance. This makes it difficult—but not impossible—to turn our ship on a dime when something warrants it, like our worsening economy.
That’s why I figuratively stopped the presses, and asked our staff to address the subject; come on, isn’t it what you’re talking about? And the staff, of course, did. (Have I mentioned how lucky I am to have such a hard-working, dedicated staff?) They scouted, interviewed, and wrote stories on several of your neighbors, friends, and colleagues who recently have been laid off, “thanks” to the recession (page 70), and several entrepreneurs who dared to set up shop in these most uncertain of times (page 76).
We didn’t have to look hard to find out-of-work residents. I’ll share a few notable observations we made along the way. Managing Editor John Turiano says the assignment gave him pause. “Interviewing people out of work made me ask myself, ‘What would I do if I was laid off?’ I like to be optimistic and look at the bright side of things—I’d have the free time to finally finish my book.” And Senior Editor Robert Schork, who fielded several responses from people laid off in the human resources field, notes “the fact that even HR isn’t sacrosanct underscores the depths of the economic situation.” (As I write this, though, I learned that the Dow went up some 300 points. Good news, of course. And perhaps we’ll have more good news for you as the year passes on.)
“It really brought the issue home for me,” says Features Editor Laurie Yarnell. For all of us, really. Chief Copy Editor Carol Caffin was impressed by the positive spirit and determination that each of our laid-off people showed. “They are channeling their energy into moving forward, not looking backward,” she says, “and I was touched by their empathy for others in the same boat.” Adds Articles Editor Marisa LaScala, “I was surprised at how these laid-off Westchesterites were able to maintain the good attitudes they have. I guess just agreeing to be in the article shows that they’re game for anything.”
Hopefully, their good attitudes will go a long way in landing them new jobs (speaking of which, if any prospective employers would like to contact any of our laid-off folks, please email us at: email@example.com).
We’re proud of the reporting we did with these stories. And not to toot our own horn too loudly, we’re also proud to announce that Westchester Magazine has been nominated for two awards by the City and Regional Magazine Association. We’re a finalist in the categories of “redesign” and “blog column,” in the company of esteemed nominees like 5280 Magazine (Denver), Boston Magazine, Chicago Magazine, and The Washingtonian. The winners will be announced at the CRMA’s annual conference May 30 to June 1 in New Orleans. Wish us luck.