Welcoming My Replacement!

Outgoing Orange Coast editor Martin J. Smith grills incoming editor Alan Gibbons
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Orange Coast EditorWait, you’re not a dude. What’s with the name Alan?
No, my parents did not want a boy. My mom knew a woman artist she liked with this name. Though probably a different spelling. I asked over and over, “Why didn’t you spell it Allyn or Alynne?” Mom’s response: “Because I never wanted anyone to shorten it and call you Lynn.” Um, OK. Because Al is so much better!

What was your impression of Orange Coast magazine before you came to work here in early 2015?
I hadn’t read it on a regular basis, but my friends seemed to reference it often. And I’d see it in doctors’ offices.

Did that impression change once you became one of the sausage makers after joining the editorial team?
Most definitely. Once working here, I realized how many ways there are to tell great stories about this place we live. I realized how connected we all are without realizing it. And in all the circles I spoke about my new job, there was a positive reaction: “Oh, I love that magazine!”

What makes Orange Coast different than other slick magazines in this market?
The journalistic integrity. The great storytelling. The connectivity with so many parts of Orange County.

What specific changes should the magazine’s loyal readers and advertisers look for in future issues?
I want to increase our home coverage. And I’d like to add some health/wellness elements to our content. I think loyal readers can expect much the same great coverage they’ve become used to, perhaps with a few extra bells and whistles thrown in.

You’ve got deep journalistic roots in Orange County. Do you think that’s important in this role?
Yes. It gives me context about Orange County and its history. It gives me connections to writers. And it gives me lots of smart people to steer me clear of bad ideas!

At what point did you realize you’d made a terrible mistake in accepting the editor’s job?
I can’t imagine this feeling like a mistake. I’m so excited about the magazine’s role in the county and our ability to connect with readers. Coming to work every day is fun! We cover topics people spend their free time thinking about. The team here is smart and creative and funny. The only mistake I can think of is that we can’t figure out a way to lure you to stay longer.

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