Nearly a year to the day I left Tikkun to complete my book, I went back to work as an editor again. Not so coincidentally, the gig was online, with Allvoices, an international news and community portal. Tasked with recruiting a team of bloggers to help launch the site’s publishing platform, and responsibility for editing and managing the largest collection of international news feeds I’ve ever seen, I’ve spent the last five months adjusting to a job that’s both new and extremely familiar at the exact same time.
I’m very grateful for the opportunity. Given what a crisis publishing is in, I continue to find myself exceedingly lucky I found any work at all, let alone work in news media. The degree of relief I feel, as you might imagine, remains profound. My biggest concern in quitting my former job in such dreadful economic circumstances was that my book might be my final hurrah to fourteen years in publishing. I’m glad to say its not, though I would have continued to do this irrespective of whether I’m paid or not.
One aspect of my present gig that makes it so fulfilling is familiarizing myself with English language news resources in places I would not have otherwise gotten to know, such as central Africa and the Caribbean, discovering first class, UN-funded news organizations, or independent European agencies that are every bit as good as AP or Reuters. It’s all been enormously inspirational to discover, especially at a time when it seems as though the business is going to absolute pot.
The other aspect of my present gig that I’ve really enjoyed has been working with a crew of twenty-two regular bloggers, such as my longtime colleague and pal Mitchell Plitnick, the Belgrade-based journalist Amy Miller, Cairo’s aBendinTheNile, and Ilana Sichel in Jerusalem, to name a few. Their writing can be every bit as good as anything I read at past gigs, if not more so. I still do a serious amount of traditional editorial work at Zeek to balance it all out, and the perspective it helps provides is something else.
The best anecdote I can impart about all of this is that my co-workers, who hail from India, Europe, and Pakistan, like to jokingly refer to me as the ‘Mossad agent.’ Though it’s not meant to be pejorative, in context, it’s still a hoot to hear. Relating this to a relative who queried me about the Arab media I’ve been having to review, giggling, he responded, ” Nu, you know, this stuff could come in useful some day.”