The trials and tribulations of a magazine editor probably don’t rank very high on anyone’s list of must-reads. But this job is no different from anyone else’s—it has its emotional highs, lows, excitements, disappointments, and anticipations. And this is true never more so than that day when the fateful question gets asked: What are we publishing this month?

It may not be widely known that magazines such as HEALTHCARE DESIGN, which are advertising-supported, are bound by ratio to printing only a certain number of editorial pages versus the number of advertising pages sold that month. The ratio varies somewhat from issue to issue, but not by much. So there’s that time of month when the editor decides:

  1. How many articles to publish
  2. Of what individual length
  3. How 1 and 2 interact to meet the ratio

This means, inevitably, that articles of great merit whose authors have been waiting patiently for publication get cut. It has nothing to do with these articles’ quality or authorship—it’s all a matter (and this should resonate with readers) of space planning.

I’d like to give you a little flavor here of these almosts, might-have-beens, and probably soon-will-be pieces, without giving them away altogether. This might, if nothing else, give you some idea of the scope of the healthcare design publishing world—a scope quite a bit wider than what you see in a given month. (I’m sure, by the way, that my partner-in-“crime,” Managing Editor Todd Hutlock, agrees with this throughout.) Thus, for example:

We have an article on disaster planning other than the one you’ll find in this issue on page 43 that reviews the architectural implications of hospitals hit by disaster—in this case, not only natural disaster, but man-made events. What does the designer do to prepare a hospital for a biological, radiological or chemical attack? How do you segment the emergency department? What areas of the hospital can be set up as temporary EDs, and how? This was a tough one to cut, but it’ll be posted on our Web site ( as an Online Exclusive feature.

There’s also a piece that’s not quite written yet, but promises to offer a unique take on sustainable, or green, design—namely, that new ventilation methods and building products used to promote environmental values may end up contributing to debilitating moisture problems in buildings that use them. You say you can’t wait to see how that one turns out? Neither can I. I only hope that, when it arrives, we’ll find the space for it quickly.

So now you have at least some of the flavor of my (and Todd’s) world. As I say, it’s unlikely that some action movie star will be hired to play me anytime soon. But my “adventures” are engaging enough. And it’s fun to be at the center of the conceptual action, anyway, as ideas fly by just waiting to be captured in print, sooner or later. HD



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