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Becca James portrait: Editor in Chief of Pop 'stache

Happy Birthday, Pop ‘stache!

written by: on November 8, 2011

I still remember the day Andy Keil asked if I wanted to be the editor-in-chief of a website he was creating. I was in my junior year at Columbia College Chicago. At that time I was taking 19 credit hours, which were mostly writing intensive, including an internship with the college’s alumni publication (DEMO), and working as an associate editor for Consequence of Sound. I had heard buzz about his plan from mutual friends, but it took some time for him to mention it to me. He’ll tell you it was because I was the “last piece of the puzzle” and he wanted his “ducks in a row” before he extended the offer, but I remember thinking one of my best friends was keeping something from me. When he finally asked, I gladly accepted, under the impression I was walking into a fully completed project.

That wasn’t the case. Instead of receiving a greeting from a finished website, I was welcomed with, “it’s going to be a music focused online magazine.” That was it (Don’t fret. It turned out to be enough). It made me nervous about the time commitment I would be expected to make, and I was concerned about leaving Consequence of Sound – one of the first Chicago publications I worked for (thank you for the recommendation, Andy), and a real life-line to the city. Looking back though, I wouldn’t want it any other way because it afforded me the opportunity to help build something from the ground up and expand beyond my roll at Consequence of Sound.

Yes, Andy was crazy enough to allow me to create a name for the website and determine features and word count (with some success and some failures). After extensive debates, he even let me implement an editing system that focuses on improving our staff members’ writing in hopes of assisting them in meeting their career goals. For months before the launch I was the sole editor and I used that feedback intensive editing system to acquaint myself with the dedicated writers that were meeting weekly deadlines and earning no bylines. I cherish that time and thank those of you who know what I’m talking about for working so diligently and believing in a person that most of you knew only through email correspondence.

With time, and after what seemed like a long summer of waiting for Pop ‘stache to materialize, I entered the fall of 2010 ready to crack skulls. Andy can attest to my constant commentary on the site launch, as I nagged and threatened him daily in an attempt to speed up the process. I’m glad he made us wait for the design to come together (Thank you, Derek S. Moore and Remo) though, since it showcases our work so well.

Sitting in Derek’s studio space in the wee hours of the morning, I called into work (something I never do) so I could be there when we went live on November 8, 2010. At some point I fell asleep on the couch using my coat as a blanket, but when Andy and Derek woke me up it was real. We did it, and we’re still doing it. So thank you to everyone that is a part of the Pop ‘stache family.

Whether you’re a newcomer or a native, a staff member or a supporter, you have contributed to the growth of this publication and that means the world to me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Janice-Schaller/1547770490 Janice Schaller

    Awesome Becca !!!  You always had “stick to it ism” and looks like you made it happen.  Very proud of you and your many  accomplishments !

  • Jenn

    YEY FOR POPSTACHE FAMILY!