Longtime readers of Gas Engine Magazine might recognize the name at the end of this column. For those who don’t, I was the assistant editor of GEM from 2007 to 2011 before moving on to other positions within Ogden Publications.
You’re reading my words today because longtime editor Richard Backus has decided to scale back his direct involvement with GEM in order to focus on his successful auto repair shop in Lawrence, Kansas. While we’ll certainly miss working with Richard on a daily basis, he’ll still be offering his expertise as a contributing editor when time allows.
The good news is that we’ve already found the next day-to-day editor of GEM, but I don’t want to steal their thunder. If all goes according to plan, you’ll be meeting them in this space in the next issue. In the meantime, I’m returning to my roots by acting as interim editor. It’s been a fun walk down memory lane pulling together this issue, and it also offers me the opportunity to share my vision for GEM going forward.
GEM was my first experience working on a magazine. I learned a lot from those first four years, not just about putting a magazine together, but how to understand its audience and connect with readers. I learned that exposing my lack of technical knowledge wasn’t a liability, but rather an opportunity for others to share their expertise by teaching me, which many did graciously. In short, I learned that the best thing I could do as an editor of this magazine was simply be a conduit for people to tell their stories.
Nine years later, I’m writing this column as the new Editorial Director of Ogden Publications. In addition to GEM, I’m now in charge of setting the big-picture strategy for the other eight magazines in the Ogden family as well as guiding a talented team of 22 editors. A big part of my job these days is making sure I’m putting the right people in the best position to help others share their stories through our magazines. As that relates to GEM, I’m very excited to work with the incoming editor and help them learn what I learned 12 years ago – that GEM readers are some of the friendliest and most knowledgeable people you’ll ever meet. Every one of you has a great story to share with others in this fascinating hobby and it’s a pleasure for us to help you do that.
To that end, you’re going to see more of us at shows this year, taking photos and talking with you about your engines. We’ll also be investing more in the magazine by offering remuneration for articles. We’ve always depended on you – the reader – to keep this magazine interesting and now we’ll be able to offer you a token of our appreciation for sharing your time and expertise with us. So please – keep those story ideas coming!
In the short term, please bear with us as we bring the new editor up to speed and try out some new ideas to breathe fresh life into the magazine. As always, please let us know how we’re doing: what you like, what you don’t like, and what you’d like to see more or less of.
Above all, thanks so much for reading. Here’s to many more years of Gas Engine Magazine!