Working With the Best

Mar 3, 2003  •  Post A Comment

When I think back on Electronic Media, I always start at the very beginning of my 16-year tenure there. It was 1983 and I had just arrived from the Chicago Tribune, attracted mainly by EM’s potential.
EM was a few months old and most of its reporters and editors were shared with Advertising Age, the company’s proud and successful flagship. I was news and editorial page editor, but my main job at first was to sell folks on helping us out.
Fortunately, a few staffers pitched in above and beyond the call. One was copy editor Karen Egolf, who worked longer and harder than I had any right to expect, especially when the National Association of Television Program Executives convention ignited and our editorial workload became unexpectedly huge almost overnight. Karen, who went on to become EM’s managing editor, never faltered, and our toddler of a publication took its first steps on the road to becoming a sprinter.
Corny as it sounds, EM’s success was always all about people. Somehow we recruited exceptionally talented men and women to our cause. I don’t have the space to name them but I will always remember them all with much gratitude.
The story that stands out from those early days was actually written by the late CBS News executive Bud Benjamin. Specifically, it was Mr. Benjamin’s report on an internal CBS investigation of the network’s very controversial documentary “The Uncounted Enemy: A Vietnam Deception.”
We ran an edited version of the entire “Benjamin Report,” consuming two pages of space. In so doing, we not only served our readers, we also signaled, quite deliberately, that EM intended to be more than just another sleepy trade.
In the decades that followed, our issue-oriented publication was accused of many things, but never of being sleepy.
Ron Alridge was publisher and editorial director of Electronic Media when he took early retirement in 1999 and returned to his native North Carolina.
He and his wife now live in the Charlotte, N.C., suburb of Mint Hill in close proximity to their children and grandchildren. His e-mail address is RAlridge@aol.com.