My social media circle mainly knows me for short missives via music videos rooted in my days as a writer for Hit Parader and music editor at Women’s Wear Daily and W. But at least once a month, I’ll spend time detailing how much I love this gig at 20/20 as Editor-in-Chief and occasionally drifting back to my time as art director of W.

But this COVID-19 crisis keeps pushing me to other moments of epic duress related to my career.

A few years into my time as art director at WWD, New York was hit by a crippling electricity blackout. Committed to getting out our daily news on the apparel industry, it was decided I would need to get in a helicopter and be flown to our printer in Vineland, N.J., with a giant parcel of photos, illustrations and edited copy manuscripts so the newspaper could be composed and printed in a timely manner for next-day U.S. Mail distribution. Creating the issue was a relative snap, assisted by the efficient team at the printers. The harrowing part was the two-hour helicopter ride in one of those choppers where the pilot and passenger basically sit in a bubble with nowhere to look but out at the sky above, landscape below and the blades seemingly inches above my head. I still have nightmares of that flight.

And I still have horrific dreams from being an eyewitness to the World Trade Center twin towers crumbling in flames outside my 20/20 office window. To this day I cannot hear a plane overhead without recalling what the swish of a jet led to on that day in September of 2001.

That said… here’s 20/20 in 2020 working remotely from our homes, delivering this print and digital May issue under the strain of a deadly pandemic.

What’s our outlook? We stand united and ready to take on every day anew with absolute energy and resolve that this world and this opti-universe constantly beholding vision anew can step forward with the power to not just sustain and maintain but forge a better future.

There’s nothing good about being down for the count. But… there’s everything great about being open enough to see a future not just better but completely new with solutions and fresh steps one never thought possible in more comfortable times.

Our cover feature speaks to a new day. Here’s what my Dad would say so many times on so many days… Rise and Shine with the Dawn Patrol. 

James J. Spina
[email protected]