I’ve been wondering how Virginia Quarterly’s progression would continue after the suicide of former managing editor Kevin Morrissey back in July of 2009 and the subsequent closing of VQR’s offices for several months.
Last Friday VQR posted that their winter issue had been released, and that a new web project had been launched, Assignment Afghanistan, based on Elliot Woods’ ground level reporting in Afghanistan. VQR editor Ted Genoways wrote:
This standalone website signals a new era in VQR’s development. Don’t misunderstand: we’re in no hurry to abandon print. But we are committed to exploring new ways of finding the next generation of readers. The challenge will be embracing these emerging technologies while maintaining high intellectual and literary standards. It’s a tall order, but we can’t bury our heads in the sand. The rise of digital media has eroded the market and social value placed on serious reporting and altered the revenue models for the entire publishing world. VQR has created its own model of on-the-ground literary reporting that is nonprofit and university-based. We hope to build on and expand that model with multimedia, web-based projects like Assignment Afghanistan—with the larger goal of sparking a renaissance among a rising generation of storytellers by finding new audiences for their work and a new business model for publishing a magazine in the digital age.