from the editor
early in my publishing career (actually it was my very
first real reporting assignment), my editor, a no-nonsense guy
named Al Sylvia Sr. (not to be confused with the managing
editor, Al Jr., who had hired me with just one journalism
course on my English-major’s résumé), asked me what I was
going to write. He had sent me out to cover the local school
committee meeting, which, in small-town New England,
where the weekly North Reading Transcript resides, is a more
important beat than covering the cops, the local sports teams,
and town hall combined.
I cannot begin to describe the look on his face when
I said, “Nothing. Nothing really happened at the meeting,”
but I’m sure the thought “What have I done hiring this kid?”
crossed his mind. He had a way of tilting his head and squinting his eyes that could be a prelude to a firm dressing-down or a snarky wisecrack. This time, there
was the tilt and the squint and then a simple “OK.” I didn’t know it then, but that act of trust was
his way of mentoring me. If I had gotten it wrong (which, lucky for me, I didn’t) and missed the
story, our arch-competitor, the daily Eagle-Tribune, would have had it and a lesson would have
been learned — by both of us.
It was just the beginning of several years of guidance under Big Al’s wing, and it taught me
that a good mentor has faith in his “mentee” and sometimes has to let her walk on her own, even
if there might be a stumble or a fall along the way.
With this, our fourth anniversary issue, we are launching our Mentors In Design (or MIDDIES)
program to honor those who share their wisdom in every corner of the design field. To get more information and a nomination form, e-mail info@DesignNewEngland.com. Big Al doesn’t do design, so
I can’t nominate him, but I look forward to hearing about other mentors who took a leap of faith.
gail ravgiala, editor
lynda sutton is a Rhode
Island-based freelance photo
stylist and magazine field editor
with a soft-spot for sheep. For
the last 30 years, she and her
husband, Bob Sutton, have
owned a small flock, and now
contribute wool each year to the
Rhody Warm blanket — though,
she makes sure to reserve
enough batting to make her own
quilts. rhody warm, page 92.
john budris, founding editor
of Vineyard Style Magazine,
took a break from restoring his
own 1840 farmhouse in New
Brunswick to profile an
Maine home by Bruce Norelius.
simple poety, page 84. Once
his restoration is complete,
he’ll be glad to make a swap for
a cottage in Tuscany. what’s
mine is yours, page 102.
jenna talbott is the creative
force behind all things visual in
Design New England. Sad for
us, but a new challenge for her,
she is signing off with this, our
fourth anniversary issue. As
founding art director, she feels
her “baby” has grown and is
ready for another’s guiding
hand — and she is ready to
move on to new frontiers in the
media world she loves.