Magazine article Newsweek

The Editor's Desk

Magazine article Newsweek

The Editor's Desk

Article excerpt

Byline: Jon Meacham

A decade ago, my wife and I spent a long, lovely--and, if memory serves, rather liquid--evening in Atlanta with Bill Emerson, a charming bear of a man who had covered the civil-rights movement for NEWSWEEK. Emerson was full of war stories--tales of the age of King and Wallace, of Birmingham and Little Rock. The mission for reporters, Emerson said, had been clear. "We knew we had to just tell the damn truth," Emerson said. "The truth may be plenty good or plenty bad, but believe me, it's always plenty."

Just tell the damn truth : sound counsel for anyone, but especially for those of us who make our living in journalism, then and now. The magazine you are holding is my first as editor of NEWSWEEK. I have been privileged to serve as National Affairs editor for the late Maynard Parker and, for the past eight years, as managing editor under Mark Whitaker. And through both eras everyone at NEWSWEEK has been fortunate to work for Rick Smith, our chairman and editor-in-chief, who has, as he likes to say, been here since dinosaurs roamed the earth (or at least since Richard Nixon was in the White House). Maynard, Mark and Rick all taught us that while journalism is, as our late owner Philip Graham said, the first rough draft of history, one of the joys of NEWSWEEK is that we not only write history but make it--by breaking news, by advancing arguments and by telling you things you do not know but should.

Now, as we open a new chapter, we know that we can take nothing for granted. Given the kudzu-like universe of choices you have to get your news, we must repay your time and your trust every day on NEWSWEEK.com and every week in the pages of the magazine. You may not always agree with a certain columnist or approve of that week's cover choice. But taken all in all, hour by hour online and week by week in the magazine, you will never find reason to doubt that we are trying to do the best we can to produce honest reporting and present diverse voices on the things that matter most. …

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