Since I took over as interim editorial director last week, I’ve been working hard to get up to speed on the various changes Fireside has undergone since my tenure ended in 2017, and to examine what reforms are needed.
In order to address the organizational issues that led to publisher Pablo Defendini’s publication of a racist audio recording of an essay, it’s clear to me that Fireside needs to reduce the complexity of its internal operations and free up funds for additional staff. With that in mind, Pablo and I have decided that we need to immediately discontinue Fireside Quarterly, the print version of Fireside Magazine. (This means the Autumn 2020 issue, which shipped out in September, will be the last.) The Quarterly — which is hand-packed and mailed to subscribers by Pablo after printing — eats up a significant portion of Fireside’s production budget and requires a huge amount of time and attention.
This was a difficult decision; the quarterly print edition is a beautiful thing that we’re really proud of. We also know this is likely a major disappointment to authors who were looking forward to seeing their stories in print, but we believe it’s still the right call to make. Print added a lot of complexity, almost all of which was shouldered by Pablo. (As I said last week, concentration of too much work was a major contributor to the recording debacle.) Making this change now will get Fireside on a more solid footing, financially and operationally. We will use those freed-up resources to improve our editorial review process, to add staff to spread out the core editorial work and oversight, and to enact other reforms as we identify them. (It’s even possible that we’ll be able to look at some on-demand or annual print editions down the road, though at the moment it’s too early to say.)
We have already reached out to all of our print subscribers to facilitate refunds, convert print subscriptions to digital subscriptions, and answer any other concerns they may have. If you are a print subscriber and did not receive an email about this, please contact us at [email protected].
One of my goals during this transition period is to be as transparent as I can about what we’re changing and why we’re changing it, because I think Fireside owes that to the people who were harmed by that recording and to all the people who have supported us over the years. I’ll continue to post updates like these as I make decisions and figure out the way forward.
Brian J. White
Interim Editorial Director