At the beginning of each issue of SURFER Magazine (after an average of five advertisements, a table of contents, and a gorgeous surf shot known as Taking Off), you will find a Letter from the Editor. This letter contextualizes the whole issue; it sets the tone for the pages and concepts that follow, and I’ve always envied the gravitas of that page. It presents a shining opportunity to put things in perspective.
Unfortunately, web sites don’t always lend themselves to that clarity of thought. Sometimes they do. But ultimately, I can’t imagine projecting expectations upon our viewers at the beginning of each day, because, the fact is, aside from a skeleton calendar of serial content that we’re really proud of (think Opinion and Portfolio Series), we don’t know what’s in store. A web site is a living, breathing entity. It acquires new meaning with every innocuous comment and event that comes with the passage of time. So instead, we ambulance-chase, attempting to make sense of stories as they happen, hoping they’re treated with the respect and consideration that 350,000 sets of eyeballs deserve.
At times we succeed. Other times we fail. But we try very hard. And you (the readers) make it quite clear to us when we’ve faltered – so when we crash and burn, we lick our wounds and think twice before repeating the same mistakes.
During my tenure at the helm of SurferMag.com over the past three years, I have thoroughly enjoyed those moments (both good and bad), and I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to have negotiated the rocky transition that every print-based publication in the world presently confronts. How does a monthly magazine address the unforgiving, momentary needs of the Internet given limited resources? How can it be done?
It’s been an interesting ride searching for answers to that question…scratching my head and improvising…but it’s time to give someone else a turn. I’ll miss compulsively checking articles for new comments (our amazing instant report card), cursing temperamental software, and coordinating my sleep schedule to accommodate the time zones of the World Tour, but just as humbly as the pixelated torch was passed to me, so too must it be passed once more.
Even if you only visit SurferMag.com once in a blue moon, or just to weigh in every so often to put a story in its place, or as compulsively as I have been paid to do, I really appreciate it.
Your participation provides that bit of context that makes it all worth it. -Zach Weisberg
While I’ll still be contributing regularly to SURFER in the future, you can keep up with my latest happenings here.