Astute readers of this publication—all of our readers are astute, even the ones who don’t normally pay attention to such matters—know by now that City Weekly has been without a full-time editor for the past several weeks. In place of the recently departed John Yewell, Managing Editor Ben Fulton has toiled as interim editor. This marks the third time Ben has bridged the gap between editors, filling in after Tom Walsh left for Florida, after Christopher Smart returned to The Salt Lake Tribune, and now. In each instance, Ben has done remarkably well. Sure, he can write—but manage? Who knew?
I’ve known Ben and worked with him for more than a decade. As I know, and as A& Editor Scott Renshaw also notes, there are actually two Bens. There’s Ben and then there’s the persona of “Ben.” You know Ben—the guy who has written more copy for this paper than anyone, be it on any subject of any length, up against any deadline and the fulfiller of every last-minute demand from an editor on high. That Ben has a slew of professional writing awards hanging over his head, and in my view, has few equals in this or any market. That Ben is also well-respected among his peers in the world of alternative journalism and currently resides as a member of the admissions committee for the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, a position that keeps him uniquely in tune with our industry, locally and nationally.
That Ben is our choice to take over as editor of City Weekly. After this issue, he will take a short paid leave—small compensation for the many extra hours he works. Upon returning, he will officially become head of our editorial department. In many regards, he’s been doing that for a long time anyway. Ben has a special rapport with budding writers and the respect of veteran wordsmiths. Ben has a keen eye for our type of stories, an undeniable sense of mission, a soothsayer’s ability to nail the essence of any tale, a solid ethical and moral core and he’s as loyal as they come. That Ben is the one you will come to know even better in the years ahead as he places his special brand on these pages.
We’ll deal internally with “Ben.” Without going into details, let’s just say that “Ben” is not without quirks. Without sounding too mushy, although that Ben has the respect of every staff member at City Weekly in and out of the editorial department, “Ben” is equally and steadfastly admired by his co-workers even while he confounds them. “Ben” is a worry-wort, a comedian, a scholar, an impersonator and an affable yet eternal victim. He literally redefines the word “self-flagellation,” so tough is he on himself. You’ve seen members of religious sects whack themselves bloody with cord and ropes? “Ben” can top that. I’m convinced that’s his way of keeping all of the rest of us guessing. More likely, as common with talented and brilliant people, “Ben” is consumed with the curse of being only nearly perfect.
It’s the combination of the two Bens that make him special, though. We are pleased and proud to name both of them as editor of City Weekly.