Significant Staff Changes at Popular Woodworking Magazine
Note: This is a longer message than we usually post here on the blog and is in two parts. First, a message from Steve Shanesy, the publisher and leader of our woodworking community at F+W Media. Then a message from Editor Christopher Schwarz.
Heading Back into the Front Lines of Writing
“I’m with F&W Publications here in Cincinnati, and we’ve recently bought a woodworking magazine. We are looking for an editor. Would you have any interest?”
How could I have known that call would lead to such a long career with Popular Woodworking Magazine?
A couple months back, I decided to leave my busy and often demanding position as business leader of everything relating to woodworking at F+W. I wanted more time in the shop and to begin writing about the craft again. To many, it might have looked like retirement, but it was really about changing gears now that I’m approaching 63 years of age.
Well, folks, the phone rang again.
A few weeks ago, Senior Editor Glen D. Huey told us of a great opportunity that has come his way and that he would be leaving the job. (I’m very glad that he will continue to write for us a contributor.) That hole in the editorial team has become an opening for me. I’m really thrilled to be moving into Glen’s position and continue with the magazine. It’s a new/old role that takes me right back to my editorial roots here and allows me to do what I’ve longed for – more time for woodworking and writing. Some days you get lucky.
And other days you’re not so lucky. In what I’m sure to many will look a bit like a soap opera, I had the unhappy task earlier this week of letting the staff know that our longtime and much-respected editor has decided to move on as well. Chris is filling you in on his plans below, which really look pretty cool. We’re all very happy for him and are getting on with the business of keeping the magazine rolling along.
I know there will be those who will look for intrigue behind these staff changes. The truth is it’s just an amazing set of coincidences. As with Glen, we have every intention of Chris continuing to have a role in the magazine by contributing articles, online content and presenting classes at Woodworking in America this fall.
I’ve had the good fortune of a stable editorial team for years and that’s unusual in the magazine world. There is a certain inevitability that it couldn’t continue forever.
— Steve Shanesy
I’m Leaving the Editor’s Chair
On June 15, I’ll be stepping down as editor of this magazine, which I love almost as much as my wife and children, to launch the next phase of my life, which I have been working toward for many years.
An organic llama farm.
Just kidding about the llama farm. Actually, I’m going to plunge deeper into woodworking history, old texts and traditional hand-tool techniques with my little company, Lost Art Press LLC. To my friends, this move should come as no surprise. I’ve always preferred to work independently. Before I came to Popular Woodworking in 1996, I was editor and co-founder of a small newspaper that covered state politics in Frankfort, Ky.
That business struggled mightily (and eventually failed), despite our every effort to grow it. And I left it in defeat and came here to this magazine, tail between my legs, and learned a lot about the business side of a publication from my boss, Steve Shanesy.
But I am now ready to go back out on my own and try to stand on my own two feet. I might succeed this time. I might not.
Either way, I hope that you’ll still hear a lot from me in Popular Woodworking Magazine, on this blog and at Woodworking in America. I’ve offered to keep writing my blog here at popularwoodworking.com, author regular articles for the magazine and demonstrate at Woodworking in America.
In other words, I don’t want to leave the fold here.
I know it looks like we have been shifting around a lot of duties and job descriptions here at Popular Woodworking Magazine. But for the last 15 years or so, things have been remarkably stable for a national magazine, with only a few comings and goings of note.
So perhaps, from a karmic point of view, we were overdue for some change here. Or perhaps, in my particular case, the right timing, urges and opportunities arose all at the same time.
No matter the reason for the personnel change, I know what isn’t going to change: The quality of the magazine. No one in this organization, from the very top down to the bottom, thinks that Popular Woodworking Magazine is due for an overhaul. Our balance sheet is excellent. Our bean-counting superiors are happy. Our readers are (generally) satisfied.
So why am I messing with things?
That’s hard for me to say. I turn 43 in a few weeks, and I want to make sure I’m heading into the rest of my life with no regrets.
And for me, that means I need to take one more big gamble.
— Christopher Schwarz
p.s. I promise you this transition will be transparent. I have not been fired or forced out. I’m not leaving in disgust. We’ll be offering more information on the coming changes and Steve and I will even be answering your questions in a public forum.