A Valentine For The Editors

(pdonahue@chilton.net)

Looking over the list of articles for the February issue, I feel inspired to sing the praises of JCK’s editorial staff, with whom I collaborate on each issue. I feel lucky as an editor, and you should feel lucky as readers.

Take our fashion forecast in this issue. Senior Fashion Editor Hedda Schupak asked the Cultured Pearl Information Center to photograph models wearing spring fashions, complemented by salable and fashionable pearl accessories (bravo to the CPIC for providing us with beautiful photos!). Then, she scanned the jewelry industry’s latest styles and added still-life photos of equally salable non-pearl jewelry that will work with spring’s clothing. It’s an easy-to-grasp guide for retailers who don’t have the time or inclination to follow the fashion scene.

Hedda follows that feature with her neat look at hot neckwire styles, photographed by our own Senior Editor Robert Weldon. Besides his insightful reporting on the colored gemstone scene, Robert is a breathtaking gemstone and jewelry photographer, a craft he generously shares with us when he can fit it into his hectic reporting schedule. This month at the AGTA GemFair in Tucson, his colored gemstone photography will be honored along with the work of five other top-notch jewelry industry photographers in a special exhibit called “Flashes of Color.”

And speaking of gemstone reporters, we’re grateful that New York Diamonds Editor Russ Shor still has time to share his busy schedule with JCK, continuing to report on the diamond scene worldwide for us. Russ’s news sense brings us some of our best scoops: his ongoing reporting about the sudden thaw in relations between the Russians and the Central Selling Organisation hit our JCK Online site in late December (an update is in “Upfront” this month).

My final tip of the hat in the gemstone area must go to our newest reporter, Associate Editor Stacey King, who covers pearls and the auction scene, among other beats. Her quick grasp of almost any topic we throw her way, her dogged reporting and her crisp writing style have amazed all of us! We’ve already sent her out on the road to meet retailers and get to know your concerns and needs. Stacey also helps guide us youthfully challenged editors in the intricacies of the Internet.

But our Internet Webmaster of webmeisters is Senior Editor Bill Shuster. A consummate reporter for JCK since 1980, Bill’s unerring news judgment made him the perfect choice to be the editor of JCK Online. We wanted to provide something different from our print version, and Bill has done it beautifully – and in a record short time. Bill would tell you modestly the Internet site is just beginning, and he’s right. He has a lot more creative and innovative ideas coming. But I’m grateful, nonetheless, for the work he has done so far, jammed as it is between reporting assignments in Asia and Europe.

In the creative new ideas area, our Senior New York Editor Mike Thompson is working hard on a new department I’m particularly proud of: “Watch Watch.” Mike, our watch specialist, created and stocked the new section with great stories last month and this. It’s fun to read and vindicates his belief that watches are alive and well in the traditional jewelry store.

At the other end of the country, our West Coast Contributing Editor Jack Heeger is already thinking ahead for our April luxury issue with a great story about one of the West Coast’s most interesting and successful jewelers selling luxury products. Jack’s eyes and ears on the West Coast are invaluable to keeping the concerns of western jewelers on JCK’s radar screen.

If you’re wondering who created the cool layout for “Watch Watch,” it’s Art Director Sally Maurer. Sally endures an unbelievable amount of amateur direction from all of us wannabe art directors (read: editors) and still manages to produce a staggering number of creative layouts each month. Her “Watch Watch” design is the first in a series of changes you’ll see in the coming months, as we work to make the magazine even more visually accessible to busy jewelers.

Of course, none of what you’re reading right now would ever come to fruition without the work of our behind-the-scenes editors, Managing Editor Ren Miller, Senior Copy Editor Liz Smutko and Production Editor Anne Brennan. My predecessor, George Holmes, once said you could fire all the rest of us, but if you got rid of the managing editor, the copy editor and the production editor, the magazine would quickly die. He’s absolutely right. From setting editorial tone and style, managing the enormous amount of copy and photos and correcting all of our too-human mistakes to actually physically producing our pages, these three people quietly make it happen. My hat is off to them.

That’s my Valentine and it’s richly deserved. The real beneficiaries are all of you, so when you read JCK this month, pop a chocolate in your mouth and think of JCK’s editors. Better yet, send chocolate.