Tom Hallock is Associate Publisher at Beacon Press.
Today is Jessie Bennett’s last day at
Beacon Press, and I want to take the opportunity to thank her in the space she
created. Jessie came to Beacon six years
ago, answering the call for someone to fill “a temporary, grant-funded
position” to create a blog for the press. In my new hire letter I wrote, “There
is a possibility that the position will be funded for a second year.” Thanks to
her work, it was funded for a second and then a third, by which time we had
come to feel that both the blog and its editor were essential to the work of
We launched Beacon Broadside because we wanted to amplify the
voices of our authors, and to provide them with a way to connect their work to
the events of the day. Beacon Broadside required that we develop a “new mind”,
as we explored a different way for Beacon to fulfill its mission and engage
with readers, investing in something whose return would not be financial. Jessie
was the perfect midwife, creating a lively, timely and thoughtful blog that has
done all these things.
Today's post is from Tom Hallock, Associate Publisher of Beacon Press.
I was thrilled when I realized that our family’s annual White Mountains High Huts trip would coincide with one by Beacon author Michael Lanza and his family. We made plans to hike together on the Webster Jackson trail and exchanged cell phone numbers. Michael and his family arrived first and, with Nate and Alix eager to start their climb, set off. Michael texted to say that they we were just a few minutes ahead of us, assuming that two adults would be able to catch up with hikers going at a “family pace.” It never happened (see trail photo). My brother-in-law and I had a great hike at our own pace and met other family and friends at Appalachian Mountain Club's Mizpah Hut, hiking to Lake of the Clouds the following day. Our own “Before They’re Gone” moment came when the hut naturalist told us that the entire White Mountains alpine zone, the largest one east of the Rockies, could be gone in 25 years, as a result of acid rain. Hiking in the alpine zones of the Whites is an incredible experience, whether you’re in a cloud (which you are half the time) or making the trip on a clear day. I always return feeling gratitude to the AMC staff and volunteers for all they do to protect this environment and make it possible for us to experience it.