The first time D Magazine hired me, in 2015, I had “online arts editor” as my title on the business cards I never used. I’d previously worked at a daily newspaper in Galveston and should have known better than to bother with the cards. Invest in print media? In this climate? Really?
My bigger problem was the title. Talking to friends, family members, and sources, I realized that few of them knew what an “online arts editor” was. Just total confusion. I’d blush trying to explain it. It can feel like a silly way to make a living, journalism, and the scramble to make journalism sustainable on the internet has led us to new frontiers of silliness. I found I was in safer waters telling most people I mostly blogged about things to do in Dallas. Which I did. A lot.
When I left D for an editing gig at Southwest Airlines’ in-flight magazine, explaining my job to friends and strangers got easier, although I did field a lot of questions I couldn’t answer. For example, the passenger capacity of the Boeing 737 or the cost of mixed drinks on a domestic flight. Sure, yeah, sort of like SkyMall, I’d say in an effort to wrap things up. Last March, the magazine folded, and I got laid off, and telling people what I did became even simpler. Everybody knows what you mean by “unemployed” and that it’s rude to ask too many follow-up questions. I got a similar reaction when I started telling people I was a “freelance writer.” Maybe more pity.
Now that D Magazine has hired me again, I’ve stumbled into a title that’s even more inscrutable. I am a “senior digital editor.” (I’ll probably go without the business cards this time). What that means — and I’ll try to tell you without blushing — is that I’m going to be reporting on North Texas. I’ll focus largely on the issues that longtime readers of FrontBurner know to expect: local politics, transportation, development, housing, public safety, urbanism.
Dallas is home. I was born here and have lived here most of my life. My parents live here. My wife and I just bought a house here — God help us — and plan to raise a kid or two here. With some exceptions, including profiles of, respectively, an Iowa butter sculptor and an Alabama-based lawnmower man, my work has always been about Dallas: its overlooked natural beauty, its nearly forgotten musical legends, its staggering inequality, its terrible streets and sidewalks, the people trying to make it a better place. I want to keep doing that work.
Most of all — and I’m sorry it took five paragraphs to get to this point — I want you to tell me about the work you’d like to see on FrontBurner. What stories should we be covering? What do you want to know? Who should we be talking to? What are we getting wrong, and how do you think we could get it right? What, speaking broadly, is up in Dallas? What’s up outside of Dallas? What are we missing in Plano and Frisco and Garland and DeSoto and Lancaster and Irving?
I am, if nothing else, very easy to get ahold of. Email me at [email protected]. Find me on Twitter or Facebook. Sound off in the comments. Wander the streets of East Dallas, shouting my name. Macon rhymes with “bacon.”