Well, not so much a desk as a table, but the principle's the same....
So why an editor’s blog, and why now?
Arthur Brisbane (not this Arthur Brisbane—his grandson) wrote an excellent piece in the New York Times this past Sunday calling for the paper to do more to interact with its readership beyond the individual Twitter accounts of its many, many reporters. Among other things, he suggested the creation of an institutional editorial blog so that the paper as an comprehensive entity could interact directly with its readers.
This got us at HNN thinking: though we have a healthy presence on Facebook and Twitter (and we’re continuing to explore expanding to yet more social networks—LinkedIn, anyone?), and though I often interact with readers in comments threads, we lack a dedicated forum to communicate directly with readers.
To that end, we decided to establish the Editor’s Desk blog, maintained by editor David A. Walsh (who is, appropriately enough, me), with the goal of publishing at least one (preferably several) substantive post a week.
My overriding goal is interactivity—I want this blog to be a place where readers can query me about editorial policy (of both the “why did you run this piece?” and “why don’t you capitalize religious in the ‘religious Right’?” variety), where I can post interesting things that I’ve run across both on HNN and on the web and throw them open to discussion, and where both the editorial staff and readers can talk about upcoming features, upcoming events, and matters of interest to historians and people interested in history. I’m particularly looking forward to talking about the role of historians in public life!
Because I will personally be responsible for the Editor’s Desk blog, I’ll be walking a fine line between official HNN policy and my own personal opinions. I’ll make sure to note when I’m making a personal statement (for instance, I like Ike, too) and when I’m speaking as HNN editor (like when saying that HNN is a non-partisan website, and myself, publisher Rick Shenkman, our editorial staff, and our interns take that mission very seriously).
So, personal introductions. I was originally an intern for HNN before coming on as an editor in 2010. I graduated with a B.A. in history from the University of Minnesota concentrating in American history, and I wrote my senior thesis on a handful of intellectuals who were affiliated with the John Birch Society in its early days. Since joining HNN, I’ve written a number of articles and conducted a number of interviews for the site, and I’ve covered the past five American Historical Association and Organization of American Historians conventions—looking forward to OAH in Milwaukee in April!
To end on a somewhat more substantive note, there’s a fascinating chart up today at Mother Jones on the cost of historical presidential campaigns:
My first thought—pre-1956 elections are really useful only for base-line comparisons (and even then, of limited utility) since they belong to the pre-TV age. Kevin Drum pointed out, though, that from ’64 to 2000, presidential campaign costs have been relatively stable. So what accounts for the explosion in costs starting in 2000?
(Hat tip: Jonathan Dresner).