Issue Date: September 24, 2012
Planning For Change
Leadership of C&EN has changed hands. Rudy Baum, editor-in-chief since January 2004, retired on Sept. 14, and this week’s issue is the first of my tenure at C&EN’s helm. Baum leaves a news organization strengthened by adaptation to the rapid shifts in journalism and the economy and fortified by investments in human resources and technology. My goal is to build on Baum’s legacy by taking C&EN to the next level of excellence worthy of its role as an essential and trustworthy source of information about the chemistry enterprise.
A Filipino by birth, Iranian by marriage, and American by choice, I have been influenced by living and working in Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and the U.S. A Ph.D. chemist by training, I began a career in scientific publishing when I moved to the U.S. from Iran in the late 1980s. I joined C&EN in 1994 and learned journalism through baptism by fire in its newsroom. For 10 years, I built a portfolio of stories on topics as diverse as natural products, fine chemicals, and theoretical chemistry, until I joined the ranks of C&EN’s management in 2005.
As part of C&EN’s management, including as deputy editor-in-chief from 2007 until 10 days ago, I helped shape the team I am now privileged to lead. Our collective vision of C&EN—every chemist’s first choice for reliable news and information about the chemistry enterprise—animates this team. And C&EN’s mission—to provide readers with significant news and analysis of the chemistry enterprise in a timely, accurate, and balanced fashion and to keep readers informed of the activities and official policies of the American Chemical Society—keeps this team focused and true to its journalistic purpose.
C&EN’s bedrock qualities are constant. Each story we publish in print or online embodies the high standards of journalism that readers expect. Each one reflects our commitment to report accurately, independently, and objectively and to engage our audience through well-written and attractive editorial packages.
Change is also a constant. C&EN today is a multimedia news operation with the print magazine as the flagship. ACS has invested significantly in infrastructure to ensure that C&EN content is accessible in the manner subscribers choose, including in a digital archive of content all the way back to C&EN’s first issue in 1923. C&EN writers and editors, meanwhile, are rapidly gaining expertise in alternative means of informing and engaging audiences, such as videos, webinars, and social media.
C&EN approaches its 90th anniversary in 2013 with great potential to extend its influence globally, to expand its editorial breadth, and to leverage technology to better serve its audience. To realize that potential, C&EN must continue to evolve. The challenge is to determine priorities and set the course. Toward this end, after the ACS Board of Directors selected me as C&EN’s next editor-in-chief, I immediately began to lay the foundation for strategic planning to establish goals for the period 2013–17.
Already we have surveyed readers, staff, and other stakeholders for strategic directions. In October, we will use part of C&EN’s annual advisory board meeting to ask advisers to weigh in on key questions. The results of these activities will inform the discussions of the strategic planning committee, which will do the detailed work to complete the strategic plan.
I thank all who have participated in this process so far, especially the members of the strategic planning committee: Robert Bryson, Kenneth Carroll, Carmen Drahl, Lila Guterman, Michael McCoy, Susan Morrissey, Rachel Pepling, Sophie Rovner, William Schulz, Kimberly Twambly, and Amanda Yarnell. I am privileged to work with these dedicated employees who have volunteered their time to do the critical work—for little more than thanks, recognition, and the pride and satisfaction of mapping the course of C&EN over the next five years.
I welcome your comments on how we are doing and your suggestions on how we can do better. Let’s talk.
Views expressed on this page are those of the author and not necessarily those of ACS.
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