Shawn Moynihan: On Not Giving Up On ‘E&P’ Without a Fight

By: Shawn Moynihan

When the unbelievable happens, the first, crucial step is: believe it. You can start developing strategy much faster that way.

As the Editor & Publisher staff continues to labor on its January issue, which as of this writing I hope we?ll still get to publish, the shock of being put before a firing squad quickly gives way to strengthening of resolve. Not for my own sake, but for the magazine for which I?ve been so privileged to work.

I joined Editor & Publisher six years ago, discovered on (ironically) by Editor Greg Mitchell. For someone who came up in the newsroom (in my case, my hometown Staten Island Advance), hearing from E&P was like getting called up to pitch for the Yankees. I still vividly recall Greg?s and my first conversation, in which he asked, ?We have a managing editor position opening up. Would you be interested??

Interested? No. Honored.

In the time since, E&P has won nine Jesse H. Neal Awards (referred to as ?the Pulitzer Prizes of the business press?) and a top Folio Award; reinvented itself as a monthly (after 12 decades as a weekly); and done some solid work on two separate and simultaneously challenging platforms, print and online. Stuck at the end of Nielsen?s line for site redesigns, we finally launched two blogs, the Fitz & Jen business blog and The E&P Pub, which Greg and I envisioned as an online journos? bar, complete with virtual dart board. Both have proven extremely popular with our readers.

But business is business. My team and I have been chronicling the newspaper industry?s deeply troubling spiral for so long now that it?s been critical for us not to become numb to the news of another round of layoffs at another daily somewhere — and now we?ve suffered the same fate. But for all those people trying to keep society informed, those lost jobs are very real, and the impact they have on democracy — the press? very mission, to deliver the truth — is immeasurable.

Ever since I became a reporter, in no little part thanks to the Advance?s Editor, Brian Laline (who gave me my first newsroom job as the Advance?s Guy Friday), and the Associated Press? Rene Cappon, whom I regret that I never met but convinced me through his priceless guide to better news writing that I could actually do this for a living, I knew that being a member of the press was perhaps the best thing I could do, personally, to help people. To keep them informed. And for more than a century, E&P has done just that — and been a champion of press freedoms and a cheerleader for the newspaper industry like no other.

And now, barring someone coming forward to save this magazine, that legacy of service will come to a swift end.

We’d love to see Editor & Publisher continue in one form or another. Not just because we all need a job to go to. Because it?s simply the right thing to do. Because at a time when the industry we cover needs us most to help make sense of it all and find some answers as the newspaper industry continues to evolve, for us that mission remains incomplete. E&P remains in the best position to fulfill it.

I?m not ashamed to say this: I love my job. I?m one of the only people I know who?s able to say so. And whether E&P continues — and I very much hope that it does — or not, when the dust settles, I?ll know that we didn?t go out without a fight.

Because in the end, it doesn?t matter how many times you get knocked down. It?s how many times you get back up again.

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