With this issue, we bid a tearful farewell to two longtime Nation staffers: executive editor Betsy Reed and copy chief Judith Long. Betsy joined the magazine as an editor in 1998, and over the next sixteen years her editorial vision guided The Nation through some of its most tumultuous and challenging, grim and joyous moments. Under her deft guidance, many of The Nation’s best writers produced landmark journalism, from the much-loved columns by Naomi Klein, Katha Pollitt and Eric Alterman, to Jeremy Scahill’s groundbreaking investigations into Blackwater and covert ops, Chris Hayes’s insightful essays about Washington politics and beyond. Her editorial leadership on a slew of widely praised special issues (from the debate over torture to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and the more recent “Bloomberg’s Gilded City”) has been remarkable, and her craft as one of the finest editors of her generation has made her a beloved figure among the many writers whose words, ideas and arguments she has sharpened and improved. Betsy leaves us to helm the Intercept, where she joins Scahill, Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras. We will miss her terribly, but we are also terribly eager to read the journalism that will emerge there under her leadership.
We will also miss the wise and sharp-eyed copy-editing talents of Judith Long, who is retiring after nearly thirty-five years at The Nation. Judy arrived at the magazine before we had computers, cellphones or even fax machines—the era, as she puts it, of “the monster Compugraphic, with tubs of poisonous chemicals,” which spit out the type that was pasted up on boards (which were then sent to the printer by mail). Each week, Judy—kind and gracious, with a quiet yet wicked sense of humor—made war against cant, jargon, bad syntax, clumsy repetition and typos. Judy was also, for some twenty-five years, the editor of our Letters page, which she handled with consummate and joyous skill. We praise her for her many years of dedication to the magazine, and for making it much better than it could ever have been without her keen eye and ear.