Molly McDonough has been managing editor of the ABA Journal less than one year, but she long ago established herself as a leader of boundless talent. In 2007, she was tasked with creating a new website for the magazine because the old one had the look and feel of an FTP site, and was little more than an association newsletter. Today, the award-winning website ABAJournal.com has become one of the most dynamic sources of legal news in the country. It’s a portal to more than 4,000 legal blogs and features aggregated content, podcasts, galleries, magazine archives and original journalism that is nationally recognized (by the Webbys) as the envy of its industry.
Lots of people have started websites. But McDonough is one of those rare people with both a voracious appetite for detail and a broad strategic view. While creating the website she coordinated news coverage, advertising campaigns, promotions and events. She curated an online column ("The New Normal") that focused on the changes taking place in every corner of the legal industry and it won a national award. She promoted the product on Twitter and Facebook. She tinkered with the navigational structure. She created new advertising products. She kept the site interesting because she has the instinct to know what is important and the skills to make it happen.
During the last seven years, the ABA Journal has changed from a reputable trade magazine to a full-fledged publishing operation. The way McDonough has molded reality from her sense of the future that print and digital publications are not mutually exclusive, that they can be made to complement each other, that they can be part of a spectrum of ways to touch readers in every way they need to be touched is one of the remarkable stories in journalism.