Jonny Diamond, the editor in chief of The L Magazine since the free Brooklyn biweekly launched in 2003, sent an email to colleagues this afternoon with a subject line: “Dear Colleagues: I quit.”
“Just a quick note to let you all know that after more than ten years as the editor of The L Magazine and Brooklyn Magazine, I’ve quit: I’d rather spend more time writing than editing (and worrying about page-views), so that’s what I’m going to do,” Mr. Diamond wrote. “For those of you with whom I’ve worked directly, it’s been a pleasure, and I’m sure I’ll be hounding most of you about my future projects (mainly requests to blurb novels, come to one-acts, or maybe just have a beer)—you have been warned.”
We emailed Mr. Diamond and asked him to elaborate. His answers, and our questions, are below:
So, what prompted you to leave?
I was at The L from before it even launched, over a decade ago, and ten years started to feel like an awful long time at the same job. I love the work my colleagues are doing, and I have the luxury of leaving something I helped start in capable hands. It really wasn’t for me, anymore.
The very first thing I’ll be doing is not stressing about pageviews. Then I’ll be funding my fiction-writing habit with freelance writing (and other things), until my fiction-writing habit can pay for itself in the form of a blockbuster movie franchise starring Terence Stamp and Rooney Mara.
Was L overly focused on pageviews?
No. We think it’s possible to have a viable digital media company that doesn’t rely on a lowest-common denominator race to the bottom in search of pageviews. It’s just really hard to do.
How long have you been planning to leave?
That’s a tough question. Part of me, even just subconsciously, had been planning to leave for years. It’s a great business to be in, filled with smart, tireless people, and, obviously, no two issues are ever the same—but the job long ago began to trickle into every waking (and sometimes dreaming) aspect of my life. The job was really starting to take its toll on my (very young) family, and I really want to spend more time with my wife and son (that doesn’t entail one eye on incoming email). There finally came a time when I just had to jump.
Also, when did you quit and was your email announcement a way to tell everyone at once?
My last day was officially Friday. I quit a few weeks before that, but wanted to make sure the transition went smoothly. I was very happy to learn that Mike Conklin would be my successor (former Exec Editor, with whom I’d worked closely for years).
Are you leaving Brooklyn Magazine too?
Yup, I’m leaving the whole damn magazine thing. I’d rather be writing than editing, at this point.
Done with journalism? Or just editing? Is media doomed?
I wouldn’t say I’m done with journalism—I’d rather write, now, than edit. And I wouldn’t say anything as categorical as “the media is doomed.” I suppose I’m just no longer interested in figuring out whether or not said media is, in fact, doomed, and how to save it if it is. I’m certainly not going to get rich writing, but I’d rather focus (and fail, if I need to) on something I truly love.