When I was first asked to take up the role of editor at TNJ, I declined. I had just left a long and rewarding career with a daily newspaper and was happy freelancing for a number of publications, including TNJ, writing my first novel and serving as a partner in my family firm. I liked my independence.
Five years and seven months ago, I caved in and came on board. Not once have I regretted my decision, for I have come to realize the tremendously important work this magazine has undertaken in the Black community.
Playing such a key role in helping to fulfill Aziz Gueye Adetimirin’s vision for The Network Journal has been a challenging, enriching and humbling experience, one that has taken me down a journalistic path on which, frankly, I never saw myself, since creative writing is my passion. Through its unwavering commitment to informing and empowering our community, TNJ has given me the opportunity, not only to bring to light the unheralded stories of Black professionals and entrepreneurs, and to interpret local, national and global developments as they affect those professionals and entrepreneurs as well as our wider community, but also to help nurture the younger talent that is so desperately needed in our economic pipeline.
In the nearly six years since I have been at the editorial helm, buttressed by a dedicated network of writers, the magazine has made commendable strides in anticipating and responding to the information needs of our readers. We have tried to do so always at the uncompromisingly high standard we set for ourselves. Our efforts have been rewarded with consistently growing readership in our target market – the New York tristate area – and nationwide, with increasing interest overseas. Requests for wider national and international distribution are frequent and we hope to satisfy those requests in the near future.
Over the years, TNJ has made important changes in its look, layout and editorial content. We went from a tabloid newspaper to a mag-paper format to the current standard-size glossy magazine, with a more solidly grounded business editorial. We standardized our editorial style and layout, added new sections and began to use more statistical charts and tables, especially in our Industry Focus and Finance & Economy sections. Earlier this year, we created the TNJlife section, in which we packaged our softer editorial, including travel and tourism and cultural features, Book Review, Health & Fitness, After Hours and Calendar of Events. At the recommendation of one of the newest members of our team, highly respected literary critic Clarence V. Reynolds, we added an “Editor’s Pick” component to Book Review, expanding our standard fare of business books to include fiction and nonfiction by Black authors.
Our most ambitious addition by far is our Capital Markets page within Finance & Economy. Launched in September this year with exclusive indices on the performance of African and Caribbean stock markets, this page is the first expression of my dream to create a series of exclusive Black-oriented indices for the magazine. George Orwel, an enormously talented and respected financial writer, who has been a part of TNJ since its inception, is the chief architect of the page. He will continue to develop these and other indices for TNJ.
TNJ has bragging rights as the first Black-owned publication to establish an Internet site. Look for our expanded multimedia presence as we embark on the next 15 years of what we intend to be a very long haul for the magazine.