Voices

Lineup changes

A new publisher and a new editor take over at WORLD

Issue: "Post-party election blues?," Nov. 6, 2004

There really are people, I discovered some years ago, who faithfully read the small print scattered throughout periodicals like WORLD. There really are people who keep track of the details in the masthead, just to see whether anything may have changed.

But just in case you're not such a person, this is to alert you to the fact that this week's masthead indeed does include a few important changes. Because of them, God willing, WORLD will be a better magazine.

You get extra points for alertness if you have already noticed that the word "Publisher" is no longer next to my name at the top of this page. That title now belongs to Nick Eicher, a 14-year veteran on the WORLD team and during that period a consensus Key Man and Most Valuable Player.

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Nick Eicher joined us the week after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in August, 1990. He had served as a congressional aide on Capitol Hill, and was hosting a radio news program in St. Louis when one of our board members, John Prentis, encouraged me to recruit him for our staff. From his first arrival here, it was Nick Eicher who took my early dreams and ideas for WORLD, improved on them, and found ways to bring them to reality-always on the skinniest of shoestrings. It was Nick Eicher who, even before the internet became a reality, discovered ways by which WORLD could publish a weekly magazine with a staff of people scattered across the nation and around the world.

Now Nick, as publisher, takes on full official responsibility to make everything happen that needs to happen to take WORLD to new levels. That assignment includes both the day-to-day operations and long-term planning. It includes the editorial package, the creation and execution of budgets, the magazine's advertising, its marketing and expansion to new readers, and (more on this later) its delivery to your home.

Nick orchestrates all this from his home in St. Louis, where he lives with his wife Arla and where she educates their four children-Kristen, Nickolas, Benjamin, and Harrison.

To devote himself to the publisher's role, Nick Eicher is passing on the task of WORLD's editor to Mindy Belz, whom you have come to know in recent years as WORLD's international editor. Her travels around the globe (including Baghdad, Sudan, Beijing, Sarajevo, and other exotic and sometimes dangerous cities) give her a big view of things, but she also knows how important it is to get the details of a story right. She has written for WORLD from its earliest days, covering the arts and media beat before she specialized in the overseas assignment.

To keep the record straight, you need to know that Mindy is my sister-in-law, not my wife. She and my brother Nat live in Asheville, N.C., where her office is just a few steps from her kitchen. Joining in this family adventure are son Drew, daughter Naomi, and daughter Sara; oldest daughter Emily is a college freshman. Almost two years ago, that whole crew took six weeks off from normal assignments to do a round-the-world tour.

One name stays the same in our new masthead. Marvin Olasky will continue as editor in chief-which in our usage means he is our intellectual leader, the keeper of our magazine's soul, and the protector of its journalistic heart. We count on him to remind us where the next important stories might be, where our culture's trends are leading, and how a biblically instructed Christian should perhaps respond. We look to him as well to serve as hands-on instructor with some of our younger staffers, mentoring them in the unique brand of journalism WORLD offers its readers.

And no, I'm not leaving. Having launched WORLD 18 years ago, I'm thankful as can be now to be surrounded by so competent a team. As I pass on the publisher's task to Nick Eicher, I will personally concentrate on trying to solidify WORLD's roots-both in terms of its mission and in terms of its financial future. If you have resources you might be interested in devoting to this unusual venture, I'd love to hear from you.

Early in October, WORLD moved its printing and mailing assignment from a plant near Cincinnati, Ohio, to a more modern facility on the north edge of Dallas, Texas. Although the switch was also intended to expedite the mailing of WORLD around the country, early indications are that some of you have actually experienced slower delivery.

We are addressing the issue head-on, sending out our sleuths to challenge the poky postal gremlins. We will, as they say, keep you posted-even though something makes me think that maybe I should be using a different word.

Joel Belz
Joel Belz

Joel, WORLD's founder, writes a regular column for the magazine and contributes commentaries for The World and Everything in It. He is also the author of Consider These Things.

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