Richard Babcock is stepping down as editor of Chicago magazine on April 15 — his 20th anniversary on the job. “Some of you know that I slid into journalism by the narrowest of margins – I was about to start work as a lawyer when a New Jersey newspaper offered me a job,” he writes in an e-mail to his staff. “Since then, not a day has passed when I haven’t been grateful to be doing what I’m doing.” Babcock’s farewell e-mail is after the jump.
To: Chicago magazine staff
Date: March 29, 2011
This April 15 will mark my 20th anniversary at Chicago magazine, and I’ve decided that the day presents an appropriate occasion for me to step down as editor.
The moment is simply right. Yes, I’m obviously following the example recently set by Mayor Daley—but I think I’m leaving the magazine in better shape than he’s leaving the city. After a brief, tough period in the wake of the financial meltdown, our publication is thriving, and it remains in good hands.
Some of you know that I slid into journalism by the narrowest of margins—I was about to start work as a lawyer when a New Jersey newspaper offered me a job. Since then, not a day has passed when I haven’t been grateful to be doing what I’m doing. Out of all my years in the business, though, the richest, the happiest, the best have been spent here, and that is all because of you.
Month after month, your imagination, dedication, and exhausting hard work have produced wonderful magazines. Sometimes I look back over old issues and I’m astonished at what we’ve accomplished. The stories resound, the design entices, the ads provide ballast. The consistency is phenomenal. And we’ve done it while enjoying each other! I can’t tell you what a pleasure it’s been to sit in my office and hear laughter resonating around the 11th floor.
Permit me to offer up some parting wisdom: In all the hurly-burly of life and work, our sole focus here has been to create outstanding journalism. The story in all its dimensions is everything, more important than any of us individually. That’s what accounts for our success and—speaking for me, anyway—the good times.
I’ll be around for the next few weeks and then in and out for a few months as needed, so please don’t hesitate to stop by to say hello, talk about plans, chat about old times (oh, hell, stop by even if you’re trying to collect an old debt). As always, it will be great to see you.