Chicago Parent has a new editor. Her name is Tamara O'Shaughnessy. After a long getting-acquainted phone call, an interview with me, an interview with our editorial staff and a check of her very enthused references, we sealed the deal over dinner in mid-September.
When I invited her to dinner, I told her that I was getting ready to turn over the keys to one of our favorite publications and that she was contemplating leaving a job she loved and excelled at as an editor at The Times of Northwest Indiana. Perhaps we should talk a little more, I said.
And talk we did. We talked about how to listen to readers, to make sure their voices are always heard in this magazine. We talked about what makes a family and concluded it takes a very broad and inclusive definition to understand all the ways people join together. We talked about her family and mine. We talked about the big job of being editor of this magazine and the times you need to walk out the door because family is always more important than work, even work you love.
Of course, we talked about money and health insurance and 401(k)s. Then, several hours later, we shook on it. And on Sept. 25, Tamara O'Shaughnessy becomes the fourth editor of this magazine since our company bought it almost 17 years ago.
You're going to like her. She's a talented journalist and has the awards to prove it. She started reporting as a high school kid working at the weekly newspaper in Belfast, Maine, near her hometown of Waldo. Later she worked at daily newspapers from Maine to South Carolina to Oklahoma. For the past nine years she's been an editor at The Times of Northwest Indiana.
Tamara is the mother of three, a boy and two girls ranging in age from 4 to 10. Like all of us she tries to find the balance between raising a family and doing a hard job well. Like all of us she spends a lot of time in the car shuttling her kids between activities, including Irish dance classes (which seems to be the family passion), baseball and soccer games. Unlike the rest of us, she really likes to rearrange the furniture in her house. The computer room was about to become the living room at last report.
Tamara O'Shaughnessy is an energetic and optimistic person. Those are good qualities whether you are trying to raise kids or shape a magazine. They're extra important when you are doing both.
In the months to come, you'll get to know Tamara through the pieces she writes and through the magazine she and her colleagues create for you.
And a quick word of thanks to Jennifer Gilbert, Liz DeCarlo and Kate Pancero who have been working extraordinarily hard during our editor-less interim. And thanks to all of the others on our staff, formerly of our staff and potentially of our staff, for pitching in.