Editor’s Note: Forever Changed

The tornadic path left by COVID-19 in particular has many saying “things will never be the same.”
Empty hallway in Madison Magazine's offices
Photo by Andrea Behling

Once a month I walk down the dark hallway of Madison Magazine’s empty office to pick up the latest copy of the magazine, check my messages and empty my mailbox.

Each time I’ve done this since March, it has felt like a weird field trip into an alternate reality — for a split second I imagine I’m just stopping in on the weekend and we’ll all be back in the office on Monday.

But then I see the missing monitors and stacks of paper gathering dust and I’m reminded of the five months we’ve been working from home, and the great probability that we’ll remain remote until the end of the year.

When I turn to leave, I often pause and reflect on my five and a half years with the magazine. So much has changed — for me and for Madison — in a short time. The tornadic path left by COVID-19 in particular has many saying “things will never be the same.”

But then I think about the second week of March 2015. Only three months on the job, I found myself in a meeting to discuss how Madison Magazine was going to cover the killing of Tony Robinson, a 19-year-old Black man shot by a Madison police officer. Five years later, our team met virtually in early June after the killing of George Floyd, and it felt all too similar to that 2015 meeting.

While so much has changed, we’ve been reminded just how much has stayed the same.

This magazine for a long time has been committed to inclusive storytelling and strives to reflect all of Madison’s people. It’s been a source of pride and given me a sense of responsibility to reach out to people I’ve never met and create relationships that will better inform our editorial decisions. This issue is an example of that, as well as our way of amplifying Black voices and stories at a time when they need to be heard most. As you keep reading you’ll find features on Black-owned businesses and restaurants, Black artists, columns penned by Black thought leaders, a cover story about Black youth leadership that’s written by a young Black journalist and several photos taken by Black photographers.

And this is the first time Madison Magazine has officially changed its in-print style to capitalize the B in “Black” when referring to race.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time in our archive room, and I’m fairly certain this will be one of those issues that is not soon forgotten. The August 2020 edition marks the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, when young and old took to the streets in Madison and across the nation, and organized and mobilized to protect Black lives and demand change.

Years from now, I hope we’re looking back on this issue and remembering the change it signaled and the beginning of a new, more equitable era.