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So then. The May issue, content from which will begin to go online today, was the first in our 46-year history that we produced without the editors and designers ever sharing a physical space. On March 13—of course it was a Friday the 13th—we all began the work-at-home experiment. Ten days later, our deadlines started to hit, the days when we actually produce the pages we send to our printer. We wrapped up the May issue on April 3.
Under normal circumstances, a page of the magazine, just the words, would be scrutinized about 10 times by a small but ferociously attentive cohort of editors, fact-checkers, and copy editors—print it, read it, make changes, print it again, read it again. But these aren’t normal circumstances. To get everything done on schedule, we had to reduce our scrutiny by about half. And let me be totally transparent: my own scrutiny was oftentimes conducted from a folding camping chair set up in my East Dallas driveway. The weather was nice. The view is good. The wifi is strong. And the chair itself is awesome. (Aside: buy yourself a GCI Outdoor Freestyle Rocker portable folding rocking chair. It’s $60, but I promise you that it is worth every dollar.)
The upshot is this: I felt certain we would make mistakes. Our team is one of the best in the business. But we were not operating under optimal conditions.
In my editor’s note on the May issue, I challenged readers to find our goofs. I said I’d randomly draw from the submissions and reimburse the winner $100 for dinner from a local restaurant. Given how deeply we’ve had to cut editorial expenses in response to the pandemic-driven downturn, I figured the money would have to come out of my own pocket. And I know a few subscribers personally who are excellent copy editors and who would love nothing more than to take money from me.
Well, here we are, kids. Subscribers have had the magazine for about three weeks. Copies have been on the newsstand for a couple. And how many entries have I received? Damn straight. Zero. Nada. Nil.
To executive editor Kathy Wise, senior editor Zac Crain, and especially to our copy editor, Rhonda Reinhart: you guys are wonderful. Thank you for saving me a few clams. When the bars reopen — and when it’s safe to go into them — the drinks are on me.