Welcome to Retronym

Welcome to Retronym

Hi, I'm Dante. Thanks for checking out Retronym. It's a celebration of the culture and practice of editing — and a conversation about the role editing, and editors, play in our media and society. It's also an interrogation of the state of the work, why it's so often (and increasingly) devalued, and what can be down to turn things around. And, frankly, it's a platform to work out some complicated identity issues that come from dedicating a professional life to editing journalism at the exact moment the industry became... pick your metaphor: a hollowed-out husk, a flaming crater, a self-loathing spigot of pink slime clickbait chasing bad pivots and worse business models.

There are clearly issues that need to be addressed — culturally, professionally, personally.

But the aim of Retronym is to always be proactive, solutions-oriented, and engaging. What you'll find published here will range from essays to interviews with editors to insights and resources from a career in the game. There will also be an ongoing discussion about how cinema reflects the role journalists and journalism have, and have had, in American society. (I'm a sometimes film critic. I can't stop.)

Retronym will begin as a biweekly publication, and then grow and evolve with time.

We're all editors. We all have a stake in this work. But we can only demand better of media, culture, and ourselves if we are equipped with the right information — and the right mindset. That's what I hope to create with Retronym.

I hope you enjoy the publication — and that you subscribe!

Why you should trust this publication — and me

I've worked in media for more than 20 years, most of that time as an editor. I started in college, editing The Pitt News' A&E section; served as editorial director for the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps program, where I edited and mentored 60 young journalists at a time; was Sports Illustrated Kids' senior digital editor for a while; then the senior editor in charge of TIME Edge, a digital magazine for middle and high school students published by TIME and TIME for Kids; was briefly Newsweek's deputy culture editor (until everything imploded after the raid); and conceived, launched, and was executive editor of The Elective, a digital education magazine published by the College Board.

For just as long, I've been a culture journalist writing about film and art for many of the aforementioned publications, as well as, in no particular order: The Paris Review, Architectural Record, Metropolis, LA Review of Books, Architectural Digest, Daily Beast, Wired, Mental Floss, History, and a few others. With my buddy and co-host Christian Niedan, I conceptualized and launched the podcast Cineopolis, focused on movies and the cities that made them...

There might be some other professional landmarks in there. But, in short, I've been around. I've worked in a lot of subject areas. And I've seen and experienced some things. I come at Retronym with a deep understanding of the industry and the work and an fierce commitment to learning all I can to confidently — and positively — help create the future of media.

And what, exactly, is a retronym?

The word sounds made up — like most grammar terms. (Fused participle? Genitive with a gerund?? C'mon...) But it's real, and it's incredibly useful. From Retronym's first edition: A retronym is a term adopted to set a thing apart from another/more recent form. Film camera, for example, is a retronym of camera, distinguishing the old analog former from the newer digital latter. Or, as Lyrysa Smith eloquently puts it, it’s "a backward glance that signifies progress." I mean, isn't that just great.