Last April, I snapped this photo of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, mortal enemies turned thick as thieves at the White House. In the year since, I’ve lugged the same tools—recorder, camera, notepad, pens—around DC for this fine magazine, in search of words worth the thousand you see here. Starting next month, I’ll be doing the same at The Daily Beast, and spending a lot of time thinking about development at the New America Foundation.
At The Root, I’ve done my best to tell the exciting story of Obama’s first year as president—from his shocking white hands to his young, black aides, his plan for American cities and his first appearance at the United Nations. It’s been a privilege to listen in on the State of the Union, walk the first lady’s garden, and diss Sarah Palin on national television. I hope I moved the word “blipster” several rungs up the lexical food chain. Covering breaking news on my own steam has been a constant and productive challenge. Though I never got to ask Mr. President a question at one of his press conferences, I talked to Bill Cosby! Check one off the bucket list.
I appreciate the long leash I’ve been given at the magazine. It’s been a source of creativity and mistakes, but also a proper education. My best thanks for the opportunity goes out to my first editor at The Root, Lynette Clemetson, who took a flyer on me, fought for me, edited me and played my Henry Higgins for a while. Donna Byrd, The Root’s publisher, is an extraordinary businesswoman who has not only listened carefully and advised well, but is a walking monument to professionalism. I am grateful to Skip Gates, who in addition to being an exceptional thinker and contributor to the magazine, has become a mentor and friend. I also thank Jacob Weisberg and David Plotz for their smarts and counsel. I am not finished learning from Joel Dreyfuss, the new managing editor of The Root, who has several lifetimes worth of experience in journalism and has been a wonderful leader for the team this year. As for Danyel Smith, well, you know where to find us and apologize.
Thanks also to Natalie Hopkinson, Teresa Wiltz, Erin Evans, Saaret Yoseph, Jonathan Pitts-Wiley, Kai Wright, Sheryl Salomon and everyone else on the editorial team, for strong writing, strong opinions and behind the scenes magic. I’m proud of the work we did together. More thanks to the good women of XX, the entire team at Slate for your stylishness and your example, and to the Washington Post for understanding and supporting our take on the news.
The biggest thank you goes out to all the readers who offered news, advice, and fact-checking (my first job in Washington) this past year. The site doesn’t work without you. I won’t be a stranger, so see you soon.