Of the many parts of Portland Monthly we imagine that you read, the masthead ranks low in our hopes. But in its own way, the list of people who create this magazine tells a story, too—none better than the shuffle at the top you’ll see this month.
Rachel Ritchie’s name first appeared on the masthead in 2007 under the heading of “editorial interns.” A Boston native and graduate of Colby College whose only experience in journalism had been a brief stint writing at the Hartford Courant, she—like so many of this magazine’s interns—quickly showed her talent for fact-checking, copyediting, and writing. But she also proved her mettle at getting stuff done—impeccably. Rachel became an associate editor and, soon thereafter, managing editor of another of our company’s magazines, Portland Spaces. And in the recession-darkened days of 2009, when Spaces ended its sadly too-short run, she leapt to Portland Monthly and helped steady its rocking ship. She was 25 years old. Besides showing how organization and management can be both a science and an art, Rachel has led the talented team shaping Portland Monthly into the city’s most authoritative source of news and opinion on our exploding food and drink scene.
Zach Dundas began his paid career in journalism delivering 15,000 weekly copies of the Missoula Independent from his 1983 Oldsmobile Cutlass. But his early writings for his high school paper and various ’90s zines earned him a spot on that Montana alt-weekly’s masthead, writing calendar entries and, soon, the crime and politics beat. He came to Portland in 1999 and landed at Willamette Week, first as music editor, then city hall reporter, plus, with his gift for wry observation, writer of “funny stories.” In 2005, he struck out on his own, with regular bylines in magazines like Maxim, Monocle, and Good, and on the cover of The Renegade Sportsman, his book about such oddball athletic pursuits as bike polo and beer-slugging running. In 2010, after contributing to Portland Monthly on such subjects as Ross Island’s future and electric cars, he came aboard. His wealth of ideas, journeyman editing and writing skills, and that ever-sparking sense of humor eventually boosted him to senior editor. The lively mix of news, culture, and comedy that we call Mudroom is like a steep ski run through the slalom of Zach’s mind.
This month, Rachel and Zach move up the masthead, both taking the new title of executive editor. And after four years as editor in chief, I’m transitioning to “editor at large.” It means that Zach and Rachel get to worry about budgets and planning, and I’m very happily returning to what I love most (and did for 17 years before turning editor): wandering the city, meeting the people shaping it, and writing stories.
As far as this column goes, we imagine that you’ll hear from Zach, Rachel, me, and other members of our editorial team from time to time—maybe we’ll draw straws, or engage in tests of strength...if the latter, it will be Rachel.
That’s the news from the masthead. We hope that the far more interesting news follows in the pages and issues to come.