Those who care about such trivialities may have noticed that in the various photos and videos that have appeared on the World Wide Web of me in my old office at 1UP, there was a sign prominently posted behind my head that said "WWDD."
Like this one:
Much speculation has been had--as with the numbers in Lost--as to what this could possibly mean. "We Want Dunkin' Donuts"? "We Wear Depends Diapers"? But no. These were not correct. The correct answer, which I am revealing here for the first time in this world exclusive is: "What Would Dana Do?"
The "Dana" in question is Dana Jongewaard, who for many years was given the hapless task--as a few other poor souls did--of being my Managing Editor at Computer Gaming World. I say "hapless" because as anyone who knows me knows, I can be a bit of an absent-minded and oblivious fellow, and so part of being my Managing Editor was basically making sure that I didn't just wander out into the street and get hit by a car--let alone getting a magazine out on time. In addition to keeping her slightly retarded boss on track, Dana also had the extra ability to stop me from doing things that would otherwise get me in trouble---like sending irate, emotional emails to my bosses, or heads of game companies, or other such stupid things. "WWDD" was something she ultimately printed out for me, to remind me to think of what she would do when I found myself in those kind of situations. I kept the sign up there long after she left for better things, simply because, well, she was ALWAYS right.
In general, Managing Editors have a thankless task: They are the deadline Nazis amidst a bunch of writer/editors who generally tend to ignore such things, and they have a million minute tasks to attend to involving every little detail of the magazine's production that are anything but the "fun" part that people think of when
they wonder what it's like to work on a magazine. For this reason, it can also, unfortunately, be a bit of a career dead end--or at least a cul-de-sac--because their superiors might then peg them as "administrators" rather than as creative types---when in fact it's usually more the truth that they are just the most responsible of the creative types. Because they have to spend so much of their time managing, they often get less opportunity to be write every month. Sean Molloy is a perfect case in point. He was the busiest guy on the staff, and so often didn't get to write as much. But when he did, you'd just go, "fuck, this guy is brilliant! Why doesn't he write more?" Well, because he was doing all our work for us. That's why.
It was even worse if you were a female managing editor--as many of them were at Ziff Davis. Dana, Jen Tsao, Carrie Shepherd, Kristen Salvatore--all "mothers" to a group of irresponsible man-boys, who didn't always take them as seriously as they deserved. It's no coincidence that all of them have since gone on to bigger and better careers elsewhere, as Ziff was notoriously sexist in its disposition and makeup (quick--count the number of female editors-in-chief over the years!). Basically, they had to leave to be promoted. And, really, let's not limit that problem to ZD. The gaming press in general is pretty much a boy's club (it's heartening to see EA teeming with smart, ambitious women), especially if you're not willing to take the low road, and, say, lick PSPs to advance your career.
ANYWAY...so Dana went from CGW to OPM as managing editor, but only now has gotten the EIC position she has so rightly deserved for so long. She's a terrifically funny writer, an awesome editor, and an extremely media-savvy person with more gaming knowledge than people think, all of which is well reflected in her website, greenpixels.com. The mandate for the site has been a "less hardcore" gaming site--and lord knows how many people have tried, and failed, over the years to do this very thing, both on the Web and in print. But with the changing demographics of the gamer audience, and Dana's talent, this site has the best chance I've seen yet of doing it.
The site is still just revving up, and Dana herself was off for quite awhile doing the whole "giving birth" thing, but she's back now, and you can see the results. Earlier this week was this fantastic column on free games paying homage to old school games, and just this morning Dana and her colleague Amanda posted their own Tom vs. Bruce style take on Madden--with great results. Check it out here.
WWDD? D would keep kicking ass in a male-dominated field. I say thumbs up.