I’m being ditched. Less than six months into her new stint as 20/20 Managing Editor, Christine Yeh has secretly rounded up the editorial troops and initiated a guest editor-in-chief contest. You can read her missive in Upfront. There will be more contest and prize details next month for sure. I have a feeling publisher Marc Ferrara had a hand in this coup. Let’s hope so since he’ll have to provide the funds fleshing out this dubious ed-chievement. Although... who knows. Maybe some enlightened client will step up in this blatant attempt to assure all that 20/20 is more than just some stale by-the-numbness trade rag bent on causing the eyes of optical to snap shut mid-sentence via boredom.

More seriously, this contest brings up the important point that our 20/20 edit (and art!) mission is to always bring something more you need in order to be the best you can be in this ever-challenging opti-arena. And very often that comes under the guise of information decidedly distinct from what is usually considered “trade” publishing.

Truth be told, I consider trade publishing deadly dull and unendearingly useless. I know of what I speak because I’ve actually been a part of trade publishing for my entire professional career (except for a brief stint as a caddy where the tips were better). I’m actually grateful that the recent surge in publishing via social media has been a kick in the pants for the stale business world where magazines felt safe speaking in a language specifically tooled to address highly specialized interests within the given “trade,” never realizing that in the passage of virtually any form of information the most important layer is natural engagement. If the message is layered in complex tech and insider-isms the reader is going to just sit back, say “I already know this,” and wander off to a place where stimulation rather than regurgitation reigns.

That’s why anybody who reads can pick up a 20/20 (or visit 2020mag.com or 2020mag on Facebook or Twitter) and... get some good info from the experience. Yes. I hear you. You’re a professional. Well, so are we. And our profession is delivering info in a manner that makes it interesting AND invaluable.

Want to join us at 20/20 and see what it takes to magically engage readers? Find out how next month. Want to be bored with a bunch of optical mumbo-jumbo? There’s tons of THAT out there. In either case... Be our guest.

James J. Spina