2020 continues to be a trying and complicated year. This statement goes beyond the boundaries of publishing and speaks to the totality of our society and economy. But as publishers, we all play an important role in informing, entertaining and serving our communities, regardless of social, political or economic conditions.
During this historic moment in time, a highlight for Folio: is that we’ve had the opportunity to engage in insightful conversations with a number of folks from around our community. We’ve heard inspiring stories about creativity and innovation and a deep commitment to serving communities—either through content initiatives or philanthropy.
It would be admittedly daunting and exhaustive to recap all of these conversations, but we think it’s a good idea to highlight some of our favorite interviews we’ve done in recent months with leading editors-in-chief.
Among the many questions we asked all of them was how they were managing through the pandemic and how their leadership decisions align with their brand mission. This is what they had to say…
Adi Ignatius, Editor-in-Chief, Harvard Business Review
“I feel like our role in some way is sort of clear. We were created for a moment like this. This is a place to go to for information that’s real, on how to lead and how to manage and work with teams. All of that is teed up for us. What we need to figure out is how much of it is a public service and how much is a business model.”
Jessica Pels, Editor-in-Chief, Cosmopolitan
“I’m a believer in not planning too far ahead, ever. We plan just far enough ahead in that we get done what we need to get done. But otherwise I believe in strategizing in the moment, but also being reflective. I think that’s generally the best way to capture passion. There’s no better way to create dispassionate content than to plan it a year-and-a-half in advance.”
Scott Omelianuk, Editor-in-Chief, Inc.
“It’s not about clicks for us; it would be a very different story if it was. It’s about being of service. The hope is that in being there in an informative, sober and helpful way, and when things get better they’ll remember that hand we extended and we’ll benefit that way. Ultimately, if we don’t, that’s okay too, because we can live with ourselves knowing we did the right thing.”
Puja Patel, Editor-in-Chief, Pitchfork
“We basically realized that we were going to be hit, definitely, but also that our community and our audiences needed us. All of those people who go to see live music as a point of release or emotional catharsis or just joy still needed all of those things. Artists were desperate to give that to them, and then also try to support the communities that are affected by not being able to tour or produce events.
It’s been tough, but at the same time, I feel like everyone really tried to put all of their energy into doing what they could to help. Our staff writers did the same thing. Everyone reported on what was happening to record stores, to festivals, to indie labels, to venues, and then provided music recommendations for people who might be going through a tough time right now. Everyone activated in a really inspiring way.”
Chris Lehmann, Editor, The New Republic
“I think people want a voice that can speak with authority, that does not shy away from intellectual tensions. We are in the business of inviting readers to think more deeply, not to react to some outrageous comments on Twitter. The tradition of a journal of opinions and ideas is that you are deliberately creating the intellectual space for someone to sit and consider an argument at length.”
Read more: What’s in a Redesign?
Edward Felsenthal, Editor-in-Chief, TIME
“Journalism is more important than ever. Trusted sources are more essential than ever. So I think even as we go through what is inevitably going to be some tough times economically in our industry and beyond, it’s affirming to see how people turn to journalism in times of crisis. We make our share of mistakes, as does every other corner of government and the economy. It’s been disheartening to see the attacks on the media, but now heartening to see how people all over the world are looking to TIME and other great organizations, large and small, to guide them.”