Look back and listen

Published October 01 2018

In general, and especially in this space, I like to look ahead. It’s my job. This week (about two weeks before you can read these words), I am making assignments for articles to run in April and editing essays for January. We’re deciding on feature stories for the spring and pondering what to include in the 2019 careers issue (scheduled for next August). It’s the nature of the beast.

And of course, I’m all about print journalism, one of the breed that used to be called ink-stained wretches. I like to read stories, preferably on paper, interspersed with compelling photos and images. Though I’ve adapted myself to screen reading, I’d rather turn pages than scroll.

But we all need to jump out of character once in a while, so I’m going to use this space to urge you to harken back to the September issue of this magazine, specifically to Laurel Oldach’s powerful article on sexual harassment in science and the women who are working to stop it. And though I want you to read every well-turned phrase, what I’m really juiced about is the audio story that Laurel and our multimedia whiz Allison Frick put together to go with the written words. You can listen to it right here:

My involvement in this work was minimal. Early in the process, when Allison told us she wanted to make an audio article, I dubbed it an “audicle” and won a few laughs. They invited me into the not-quite-soundproof storage room to tape an introduction. Then they asked me to tape it again. Then two more times. (I have new respect for podcasters and radio journalists.)

We’re all pretty busy around here, so I didn’t listen to the piece until it was almost finished. And I was completely blown away. Even though I had read Laurel’s story more times than I could count, hearing the voices of the women she interviewed — the anger and resolve and courage — gave it new depths of meaning.

I can’t explain it. I can only recommend it.

The audio story was posted late (we’re new at this), and we didn’t tout it in the September print edition. I’m making up for that now.

Take my word for it: It’s totally worth your time.

Comfort Dorn Comfort Dorn is the managing editor of ASBMB Today.