The Best Learning Experience
In March 2016, I got a text from a friend, the former of editor of Lynchburg Living, telling me about her old spot opening up. “I thought of you,” Johanna Calfee said.
At the time I was five months pregnant with my daughter, and had just left the local TV industry for a marketing job, so I wasn’t really envisioning another career change. But the more I learned about the Lynchburg Living editor position, I realized it was one of those opportunities you just couldn’t walk away from. Before I knew it, I was officially accepting the job.
In the months that followed, I got a crash course in the magazine world.
I learned that a “dummy book” may sound stupid, but it’s actually the layout of the entire magazine. I learned writing a two-word headline can sometimes take days. I learned there is a difference between a hyphen and a dash…and that there are actually two different kinds of dashes.
I learned that I had a lot to learn.
While I had grown accustomed to the simple, no-fluff copy needed for TV news, this job challenged me to go back to the creative writing roots of my childhood and teen years, where there is room to elaborate. My first long-form feature was a lesson in patience, organization and time management.
And after spending about nine years working in local media, I thought I knew pretty much everything about greater Lynchburg—but turns out I didn’t even know the half of it. From the scope of our nonprofit community to a plethora of amazing artists, I re-discovered this region from a different viewpoint—and I have absolutely loved it.
But in life, sometimes it’s about learning when to move on.
As I approach nearly six years in this position, I have made the very difficult decision to move on to a new career opportunity. I am grateful to have been given the enormous responsibility to lead this magazine and its sister publications and extend a huge thank you to the leaders in our home office for entrusting me with these pages.
I particularly want to thank my co-worker, friend and Lynchburg Living art director, Chris Meligonis. He has held me together through challenging deadlines, two fussy babies, and all of the personal and professional in-between. If you want to know who the true backbone of this magazine is, it’s Chris.
I can honestly say I am moving on to my next chapter with more appreciation for the magazine industry, creative writing, and, most of all, the incredible community we all call home.
And also, I must add, a life-changing understanding of hyphens.
All My Best,
Shelley Basinger, Managing Editor