A Magazine’s End That Editors and Writers Might Interpret Differently

From a story headlined, “Lucky Peach closing after it marinates for a while,” in today’s Washington Post:

The story’s lede:

Lucky Peach’s death, like the food magazine’s existence, was chaotic, original and unpredictable.

Later in the story:

Todd Kliman, a frequent contributor to magazines, said Lucky Peach was that rare periodical that let writers be writers, rather than the puppets of a dominant editor.


  1. From Rachel Khong, a novelist and at one time executive editor of Lucky Peach, in a March 17 New York Times story about the magazine’s closing:

    “I don’t even know how we managed to make those first issues; we were all flying a plane we had never learned to properly pilot,” Ms. Khong said. “We believed in writing about food that could be distinct, irreverent, important, of literary merit. Sometimes we succeeded and other times we didn’t.”

  2. Todd Kliman says

    A reporter paraphrased my words — I wouldn’t have put it like that. And in fact I *didn’t* put it like that. But I will say that, at least with my pieces, it was a magazine that valued words. The flow of words. The nuance of words. The editing process there was different from that of most magazines. And in an age where writers make a pittance for articles and space is limited and magazines do little to advance the careers of the people who contribute to them, it was awfully nice to see a publication that cared as much about “the writer” as “the reader.” Was it a disorganized place? From my experience, yes. Was it the most efficient and professionally run? Not even close. But as a writer I’d rather have this disorganization and inefficiency — which is a byproduct of passion — than the efficient soullessness that so much of journalism has become. It was not a focus-grouped product. Nobody paid attention to data and analytics. Editors trusted writers, and didn’t try to mold pieces to fit a house tone or style. I wrote two long pieces for them that didn’t sound like anything else in those (or any other) issues. Ordinarily, that’s a problem. It wasn’t at all at LP.

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