I’ve known for a while that Liz Long was getting ready to assume the editor’s chair at the Roanoker magazine, so it wasn’t surprising to see the announcement today that she will take over–mostly–from the not-yet-retiring Kurt Rheinheimer with the January/February issue.
Kurt and I are the same age and have the same attitude about retirement. No, thanks.
I’ve worked on and off for the Roanoker (sometimes for free in the early days) since the first issue when I helped out founder Richard Wells in the office and wrote a few pieces here and there, either with no by-line or using a pseudonym. I was working in the sports department of The Roanoke Times at that point and would have been fired had I been exposed. Richard and I had worked at The Times together, joining the team there from our home town of Asheville, where we both started.
I was on the most infamous cover in the nearly 50-year history of the magazine, posing as a City Market flasher while Santa Claus stuffed porn into his bag. The Times didn’t know about that, either. I had my back to the camera.
I’ve known all four of the Roanoker’s editors since 1974 and I think I appreciated Kurt Rheinheimer most. He’s an even-handed, competent pro who can also write quite well. I think Liz will fit that mold. I have known her for a few years through her affiliation with the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference, which I founded 10 years ago.
I liked the way she worked with me and with other writers so much that I asked her to become the director of the conference beginning with the next one. I stepped back to become her aide de camp. Liz is thoroughly competent, but more than that, she puts forth the effort needed for excellence.
Since I sold my half of the business magazine I co-founded, FRONT, a couple of years ago, I have regularly contributed a lot of fun stories to the Roanoker, usually with Kurt as editor, but lately with Liz handling my copy. Both are the kind of editor I hope I was: thorough, giving good instructions, asking the right questions, keeping me from embarrassing myself.
Liz will do well in this new role and my guess it will expand a good bit beyond the Roanoker.