This is my final letter as editor of (614) Magazine. Those are among the hardest words I’ve ever had to type.
I’ve always told myself that I wouldn’t stay in this seat forever, but it’s still hard to prepare for the day when “not forever” arrives at your door, leaving even someone like myself at a loss for words.
As a little inspiration for one last Opening Volley (by my count, the 102nd), I reflected on my first one, penned June 2010:
“I’ll put my own stamp on the magazine, sure. Most likely, some of these ideas haven’t yet presented themselves to me.”
If only you knew, you big dum-dum.
I’d love to give myself points for prescience there, but how could I have known what this would all mean? How could I have known we’d last at all?
I didn’t know we’d print a story about a long-forgotten Columbus swimmer that would lead to justice for his legacy in the Wall Street Journal (Thanks, Lori Gum).
I didn’t know I’d watch my Uber driver make global news and come out of the closet on The View four months after picking me up on a random Friday (Thanks, Trey Pearson).
I certainly didn’t know that I’d win an *Emmy for the least amount of work I’ve ever done on something so cool, hosting a food show called NOSH. (Thanks, NBC).
(*Regional, and the interns always assume it’s just a prop sitting at the front desk).
I did know that when I first sat down in this chair to write this letter that I was sitting in a position that was perfectly suited for me—even though it was something I never could have aspired to back when I was starting out.
I didn’t know it would give me the most satisfying and fulfilling time of my life, a period of feverish creativity, passionate collaboration, and an intense feeling of civic pride I’d not previously enjoyed.
“What (614) will continue to do is to present Columbus as the diverse, interesting—and growing—Midwestern hub that we feel it is. To hell with that Cowtown bit.”
My thesis statement in that first letter—I called a shot I didn’t have the right to. But damn, if we—and I do mean we—haven’t helped accomplish that in this last decade. We used to have to prove that we were more than college football and chain restaurants. Now, we’re having spirited debates over the loss of cocktail bars and craft breweries.
It’s that collective effort to move the Columbus culture that fueled us at (614)—less so than the other way around. I’ll put that humility aside only long enough to say, I do think we succeeded in our goal to make this magazine stand out from the rest of the rack. If I do say so myself, we set a new print standard for those glossy city mags you see strewn about any active city. Yes, we are the city guide—this festival, that band, those food trucks—but it’s always been my hope that we could be more. It’s been my hope that we’ve been able to serve as part of the city’s conscience, and present a curation of our collective personality on display. Maybe we’ve been a guide to what life feels like in Columbus’s modern rebirth, a new outline for a city without an identity for so many decades—other than their incessant, sometimes obsessive search for one.
But, we’ve mostly been YOU. If there’s one thing I’ve been most proud of over the last 10 years and 100-plus issues, it’s that we produced an open-source document for Columbus—an approachable read that gave access to the everyday folk in Columbus. It’s always been a poorly kept secret that if you have an idea that Columbus would love, you have a spot in (614). No credentials or diploma needed. Just someone with the same passion we had. Your new editor-in-chief Jeni Ruisch has it. And I can’t wait to see her era of this funny little journalistic experiment begin.
I’m gonna miss the work like hell—I won’t lie. It’s been one of the great pleasures of my life to put this thing together. I’ll miss wondering what’s on your mind; what stories you were excited to share with and through us.
I’m not going anywhere, though. I have plans and schemes to continue to pay forward what this magazine and this city has given to me. In what capacity? I suppose I am still plotting that chapter, but as always—I’m open to Columbus’s input. In other words:
“Most likely, some of these ideas haven’t yet presented themselves to me.”
Cheers, Columbus. I’ll see ya out there.
Travis Hoewischer, Editor-in-Chief