I Got Canned! A Farewell to The Mariner and Chesapeake Bay Boating

So, after nearly a year, I will no longer be the editor of The Mariner.  On the one hand, I’m a little sad that the promise I began with last April went unfulfilled, but on the other hand, it’s a pretty big relief to be away from a situation that anyone around me knew had become mostly untenable for me quite a while ago.  One of the Mariner writers, Jean Moser, will be taking over as editor as of the next issue, and I wish her all the best.

I went back this week and looked through all the issues I had done over the past year, issues that I had actually done not just some writing, but also all of the page design and even some end-stage production for the last few, and I am very proud of what I did manage to accomplish.  Over these issues, despite scheduling problems, deadlines that were constantly shifting and a nightmare in terms of the sales effort, I completely restructured The Mariner from a dry-as-toast newspaper-type format with little or no visual design element, overly-reliant on slightly repackaged press releases into one that put the unique and original writers we had at the forefront, taking the available space and using that to present a stylish visual component to go along with the words.  Hell, I even got to write an entire crossword puzzle with clues about Clint Eastwood movies.  What does that have to do with boating, you might ask?  Well, nothing, but it was a lot of fun, and after struggling with various unnamed issues (and people) for almost a year, I felt I deserved a little self-gratification.

The Mariner will be changing again, beginning in April, and I wish them well.  I strongly recommend picking up an issue to see how they do.  I’m sure it will be great.  The boating economy still hasn’t improved appreciably, but opportunities abound for the aggressive, particularly when you hire good people and give them the time and space to do the job at hand.  Jean has been one of the best writers I dealt with over the past year, both in terms of the quality of her material and her personality.  I think she’s an excellent choice to take the helm.  I can only hope she’ll be allowed to develop her own vision for the publication, and pursue it, without being overly burdened with requirements from someone with no editorial experience or skills.

So, after nearly 13 years in boating, I think I’m finally done with it.  Anyone who has read this blog with any consistency knows my feelings with regards to publishing, the future it has (or doesn’t have, as the case may be), and where the brightest opportunities may lie.  That’s where I’m heading.  There are so many possibilities, I hardly know where to begin, but I’ll find my way.

But before I close the door on this, I’d like to say a few thank you’s.  To David Fike, company president, I appreciate your candor and the manner in which this was handled.  Thank you again for the opportunity to wrap things up neatly and, hopefully, make the transition for Jean as easy and painless as possible.  Good luck with The Mariner in the future.  To Jonathan Waddell, who does design and production work, it was a pleasure and I generally appreciate all of your help and guidance.  To Jennifer Null, who does ad design, it was great working with you again. As I’ve said before, you’re the best.  To Marty Valania, who hired me, thank you for the opportunity.  To the Mariner contributors; Dave Berry, Bill Dial, Lisa Doricchi, Wendy Gilbert, Bob Canfield and Terri Shepke; thank you all for the great material you provided for me to work with.  I can only hope that I did some justice in print to your work.  To Jean Moser, the new editor, thank you for your work, as well.  My best wishes go with you, and I hope you can achieve the success with The Mariner that such a long-standing publication deserves.  I’m sure you’ll do great. To former  salespeople Andy Wheeler, Carolyn Crouch and Diane Johnson, my thanks  go to each of you for your efforts, trying as I know they were.  To all of our advertisers, thank you for your support and I sincerely hope you were all able to get some much-needed business through our publication, and will continue to support them in the future.  To any of the various people at Chesapeake Publishing who helped me out over the course of my all-too-brief run, thank you for your assistance.  And to all of the readers, thank you, and I hope you all took a little something unique and different away from each issue and will continue to read The Mariner in the future.

One last thing, to anyone I  have  neglected (purposely) to mention by name, you can kiss my ass.  My positivity and good will only reaches so far.  I did get fired, after all.  I would say that I hope you’ve learned something from this, but that’s a wasted thought.  Last April, The Mariner had a great, experienced crew and boundless possibilities, much of which were wasted, largely due to your actions (and later, in-actions).   One thing I’ve learned over the years is that people like you don’t learn from your mistakes, and end up making them all over again, just with a different set of people.  You have to be able to admit you made some first rather than blaming the economy and anyone else you can think of.    But I wouldn’t live very long holding my breath waiting for that to happen.  And by the way, in the future, when you rip someone behind their back, you should be a little more careful who you’re talking to.

Still, my feelings about this one situation shouldn’t sour anyone on The Mariner.  It’s a great magazine with far more good people involved than bad.  They deserve your continued support, now more than ever.

So, I say,  bon voyage to The Mariner and Chesapeake Bay boating.  Even with the occasional choppy waters, and some people I would have loved to throw overboard without a lifejacket,  it’s been a great cruise.

Published in: on March 21, 2010 at 7:56 pm  Comments (5)  
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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Best luck sir. I’ve known the pain of a job you’re passionate about and a boss who appears dedicated to keeping you from getting it done. It’s an awful, bipolar world… I felt so good about what I’d done and so bad about the net-net on the day. It was almost a relief to get the axe.

    Will you continue writing the blog? And are you really giving up boating? Will you move to a mountainside cabin in Montana and go native?

    What a shame.

    • Thank you. It’s funny you should mention the mountains as I actually have an opportunity to move to the mountains, albeit not in Montana. Not sure if that’s what I’ll do yet, and I most definitely won’t be going native, but a change of scenery is an attractive thing to me at the moment. I have every intention of continuing the blog, and very likely significantly expanding the things I do on the internet. There are a lot of positive possibilities here to explore. The money end of things hasn’t progressed as far as I would like yet, but I’m pretty confident that end of things will come along before much longer, particularly considering print publishing’s dwindling income. That money has to end up somewhere, it’s just a matter of taking advantage of the new era we live in rather than living in what used to work back in the ’80s and ’90s. As for boating, I think I’m done with writing about and covering boating. I’m certain I’ll still get out on the water as often as I can. It’s a great activity and a helluva lot of fun. Thanks again.

  2. Dan:

    In spite of our managament differences when you work at Nor’easter Magazine, I did respect your writing and to that end, I am sorry to learn of your departure from the Mariner. Had it not been for the current economic down-turn that has hit the marine sector so very hard, I believe the improvements you made would have given us a run for our money.

    All the best,

    Art Golden
    Publisher & General Manager
    Nor’easter Magazine

    • Well, thank you, Art. I really appreciate that. I must say, it comes as a bit of a surprise but I wish you the best, as well. I was sorry to hear about Paul Esterle’s latest medical issues. If you get the chance, pass on my best wishes to him. Paul’s a good guy, and as much as issues get blown out of proportion, and arguments can turn ugly, people’s health is far more important than any petty bickering. As a side note, I think you guys have done a good job with your transition to a smaller format. I sincerely hope the boating industry finds a revitalization sooner than later. There are a lot of good people out there hurting right now and I hope that changes soon. Thank you again.

  3. Wow…mentioned me in your goodbye. I think that’s a first. No worries though as I will always know what a wonderful person you think I am and that you learned a great deal about life and publishing from yours truly.

    Montana will love you and you it, I’m sure. I’m also certain that our paths will meet again in some strange work assignment…face it, after 13 years of knowing me, you will miss me, deeply.

    My bottle of ‘Wite-Out’ is here whenever you feel like you need a clunk.

    All my best, Dan…as always.

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