Nearly a decade ago, I ran into former Reader editor Kiki Yablon at a cookout thrown by former Reader contributor Liz Armstrong that I’d gone to in part because I couldn’t afford to feed myself that day. Kiki took pity on me and told me to come down to the office to take the proofreader test. I must have failed spectacularly, since I’d never really proofread anything before and no one ever told me my score. But I caught a mis-styling of “Bee Gees” in the decades-old copy, so they hired me to take over the music listings.
In the years since, the Reader‘s been my home base and my boot camp, where my writing has been torn down and critiqued with the kind of nurturing harshness that’s endemic to the staff. From the start the editors there have been eager to take chances on me—giving me my own column, allowing me the freedom to pursue the weirdest ideas I could come up with, indulging me with room in the paper to talk about how much I love the Eagles—as well as to whip me into whatever shape was required to make sure what I came up with met the paper’s admirably high standards. You can’t ask for a better journalism education, and you definitely can’t buy one.
When I moved to New York a couple years ago and started freelancing full-time I stayed on writing for the Reader. It was partly to keep one foot in the city I called home for over a decade, partly to avoid ending up as broke as I did the last time I went freelance, and partly because they’re the best people I’ve ever worked with, especially Philip Montoro, who’s been my editor from the start and has shown a truly remarkable amount of patience the whole time.
Today I begin a new job as music news editor for Entertainment Weekly‘s digital edition, where I’ll be working with another Chicago expat: former A.V. Club managing editor Kyle Ryan. I couldn’t be more excited to start, but I’m also a little sorry that it means I won’t be writing for the Reader anymore. This paper’s been a huge part of my life for a long time, and I suspect that it’ll be a while before I get used to not filing something here every week. The Reader, and the people who make it, have done a lot for me and I’m proud of what I’ve been able to give them in return.
It’s also been a fucking blast. So instead of getting caught up in being sentimental let’s just do what I usually do when something new and exciting happens to me, which is to listen to Young Jeezy’s “Go Crazy” as loud as I can and dance around the room.
Thank you all so much. Peace.