What does a city magazine do when its city shuts down? What does a city magazine that had planned 56 pages of concert, restaurant and event coverage do when those concerts are canceled, restaurants pivot to take-out and events move online or are delayed?
In mid-March, the Vox staff talked about the need to move to remote work temporarily, and then quickly our remote work became not-so-temporary.
By now, dear reader, you and I have become Zoom pros. Truly — I upgraded to a pro account the second day of isolation. Most of us have figured out the mute button and gotten used to the constant click-click-click of Slack notifications.
For some, however, work has vanished. Income, rent, childcare and more are in flux. For others, work is saving lives. And what is our little magazine’s place in all of this? Perhaps it is to reflect what’s going on in our city and in our world right now, and perhaps it is to provide a bit of an escape from it.
In Folio, a magazine for magazine makers, the editor of D.C.’s Washingtonian, Mike Schaffer, says this: “I’m exhausted, I’m tired, I’m stressed, as we all are … And I sort of feel like, if you’re going to be exhausted and tired and stressed, you may as well feel that way in the service of doing something excellent. It’s tough. It’s going to be tough to make a magazine when people aren’t sitting around together, but we’re doing the best we can.” Ditto, Mike Schaffer.
Similarly, for the first time in its 52-year history, New York Magazine was produced entirely remotely — from bedrooms and living rooms and, for staffers in two-career, one-bedroom homes, even bathrooms. Editor-in-chief David Haskell printed out pages and placed them next to one another on his bedroom floor for editing. Ditto, David Haskell.
We edited and designed the majority of these pages from our kitchens, living rooms and bedrooms. We changed the cover in our last week of production. The photo was shot from the home of one of our art directors. We cut stories that will make more sense at a different time — when the world makes more sense at a different time.
In this issue, we’re keeping you updated on COVID-19 in Columbia, but we’re also telling human stories about the people who make our city special whether they’re out in public or indoors. We’re telling stories that are difficult but important to tell during an already difficult time (like sex trafficking). We’re following your trash, which has likely been piling up faster and faster lately, beyond the recycling truck and teaching you new sushi lingo.
For now, I hope our magazine brings you a sense of familiarity and calm. Happy reading, happy working, happy living.