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  • Editor's Note
  • Martin J. Medhurst, EDITOR

When I founded Rhetoric & Public Affairs as an interdisciplinary quarterly in 1998, I had no intention of editing the journal for 22 years. But 22 years later, here I am, still editing. It has been my privilege to serve the intellectual community that extends from American studies, to communication, English, history, journalism, law, mass media, philosophy, political science, religious studies, and sociology, to mention only some of the fields from which our authors have originated. Likewise, our editorial board, at one time or another, has represented all these fields and more. Rhetoric is the quintessential interdisciplinary study and many are those who have discovered her riches.

Like any complex enterprise, a scholarly journal doesn't just happen. It is the product of planning, organization, administration, and lots of communication. It requires not just an editor but an editorial board, external reviewers, editorial assistants, interns, and generous support from a host institution. Rhetoric & Public Affairs has been blessed, from the beginning, with all of these things. Both Texas A&M University (1998–2003) and Baylor University (2003–present) have provided office space, a budget, released time, and a full-time research assistant whose primary function has been to run the editorial office. The journal could not have survived, much less prospered, without this support structure.

Over the course of 22 years, no fewer than 107 individuals have served on the R&PA editorial board. Space does not permit listing all of their names, but they are found on the inside front cover of every issue. Please accept my thanks for your service. Your reviews are what make Rhetoric & Public Affairs the award-winning journal it has become. I have never been so proud as when I read the reviews provided to our authors. They are unfailingly [End Page 491] professional, incisive, helpful, and often quite long. On many occasions I have told authors that the commentary on their submissions runs to ten or more pages. Our board members have always taken their responsibilities very seriously, as have our external reviewers.

While all 107 of these individuals have made major contributions to the life of the journal, I would be remiss if I did not recognize the five scholars who have served the journal from the very first issue in March 1998 through the issue you hold in your hand today: Thomas W. Benson, Robert Hariman, J. Michael Hogan, Robert L. Ivie, and David Zarefsky. Each of these scholars served for 22 years, with no breaks in service. Thank you doesn't even begin to acknowledge the selfless dedication that each of these individuals has shown. I owe each of them a debt of gratitude that cannot be repaid.

Likewise, the 15 individuals who have successfully served as my editorial assistants for all of these years cannot be praised too highly: Amy Tilton Jones, Rachel Martin Harlow, Rebecca Watts, B. Wayne Howell, Paul Stob, Terri Easley-Giraldo, Hillary Bajema Train, Diana Winkelman, Michael Tornes, Ashley Barrett, Jaclyn Bissell Bruner, Caroline C. Koons, Kelly Williams, Fielding Montgomery, and my current assistant, Mattilyn Egli. Each in his or her own way brought both a professional attitude and demeanor to the editorial office and kept the files, both paper and electronic, in working order. They often kept me in working order as well.

With the passage of time, it was inevitable that we would lose some of our board members. I ask that you join me in remembering James Arnt Aune, Edwin Black, Wayne C. Booth, Richard Harvey Brown, Jean Bethke Elshtain, Robert A. Ferguson, Robert H. Ferrell, Fred Greenstein, Michael Leff, William Ker "Sandy" Muir, and Robert P. Newman. All of them left us too soon, but their ideas and scholarship, as well as their lives of service to others, live on.

I also want to recognize the person who has lived this journal with me from the beginning and who has been the primary person to whom I turned for advice on grammar, syntax, usage, spelling, and any other matter for which having a degree in English (as well as communication) matters—my wife, Laurel Canglose Medhurst. I couldn't have done it nearly as well...


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pp. 491-493
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