From the Editor

Richard Just
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Richard Just
Dec. 11, 2015, 5 a.m.

In early 2014, I was offered what I will, for the rest of my life, con­sider an amaz­ing op­por­tun­ity: the chance to edit Na­tion­al Journ­al magazine. The job was per­fect and daunt­ing all at once. NJ had le­gendary stature but also faced a massive chal­lenge: Like all print pub­lic­a­tions, it needed to fig­ure out how to jus­ti­fy its ex­ist­ence in the In­ter­net age.

The past two years have been fun and re­ward­ing not in spite of this chal­lenge, but be­cause of it. While the magazine is end­ing with this is­sue, the pro­cess of try­ing to re­shape the pub­lic­a­tion—by put­ting a new twist on its tra­di­tions and em­phas­iz­ing long-form storytelling and el­eg­ant design—yiel­ded many in­di­vidu­al pieces and over­all is­sues that my col­leagues and I are ex­tremely proud of.

We were quite lucky in at least one sense: As should be clear from read­ing the re­col­lec­tions of the NJ stal­warts who wrote for this is­sue, the journ­al­ist­ic tra­di­tion that NJ had built up over time—the one that we in­her­ited—was ex­traordin­ary. It was a tra­di­tion that had, for dec­ades, in­sisted that the de­tails of policy and polit­ics mattered enorm­ously. That the de­cision-makers be­hind the scenes could not be ig­nored. That there was no short­age of in­vest­ig­at­ive dig­ging to be done in Wash­ing­ton. That re­port­ing and ar­gu­ment could strengthen each oth­er. That a magazine could earn the re­spect of both con­ser­vat­ives and lib­er­als.

There is one oth­er theme that is abund­antly clear from these re­col­lec­tions—and it too is part of the tra­di­tion of this place: Na­tion­al Journ­al has al­ways been a magazine with a streak of ideal­ism. Put­ting out a weekly is in­ev­it­ably gruel­ing. If you don’t be­lieve in what you’re do­ing, the stress and long hours will nev­er seem worth it. Read the re­mem­brances in this is­sue, and you will have no doubt that gen­er­a­tion after gen­er­a­tion of NJ writers, ed­it­ors, and staffers were pas­sion­ate about their work.

My col­leagues and I are no ex­cep­tions. We con­tin­ued to strive, right up un­til our very last is­sue, to pub­lish as strong a magazine as pos­sible. I want to thank every­one who was on the magazine’s small team over the past two years; but in par­tic­u­lar, I want to ac­know­ledge and thank An­die Coller, the magazine’s bril­liant deputy ed­it­or, who twice served as act­ing ed­it­or.

All of us are im­mensely proud to have been part of the Na­tion­al Journ­al tra­di­tion. And we know that the 46-year run of this magazine will be re­membered and cel­eb­rated for a long time to come.

Richard Just

Ed­it­or, Na­tion­al Journ­al magazine

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