From the Editor: January 2008
A letter from editor Larry Platt about the interview with Andy and Tammy Reid and celebrating Philadelphia magazine’s 100th birthday.
We’ve considered writing about the Reid family saga ever since that odd, terrible day a year ago when not one, but two of Andy and Tammy Reid’s kids were arrested on drug-related charges in separate driving incidents. But because Andy and Tammy weren’t talking, we would have had to do a “write-around” piece on the Reids — magazine parlance for reporting without their cooperation, trying to get people who know or knew the family to piece together the real story for us.
Frankly, the idea always creeped me out. It would be a gripping story, no doubt, even if it were one that has largely already been told. But Garrett and Britt Reid are not, and have never been, public figures. They are a couple of young men in trouble whose dad just happens to be a high-profile football coach. No greater good could come from delving into their lives and the inner workings of a family in crisis.
But, I reasoned, maybe it would be good — cathartic for them, helpful for other families in similar circumstances, and (let’s keep it real) a boon for magazine sales — for the Reids to tell their own story, as parents; after all, they’ve been the one thing missing amid all the breathless news coverage. After much back-and-forth, we agreed to collaborate on the interview that runs on page 76.
When you hear from Andy and Tammy Reid, you can’t help but be moved, because you’re hearing parents dealing with a crisis that so many other parents face, and because you hear a strength and a determination that are nothing short of inspiring. We’ve grown used to rooting for Andy Reid on the football field. My hope is, once you hear his heartache and commitment, you’ll pull for him on this, too.
On this month’s cover, as on every 2008 cover to follow, you’ll notice the dates “1908-2008,” marking this magazine’s 100th year. Philadelphia magazine is the nation’s oldest city magazine; it started as a publication of the Chamber of Commerce, until our chairman, Herb Lipson, took over from his father in the early ’60s and, along with legendary editor Alan Halpern, created the singular, independent voice you know today.
Throughout the year, we’ll commemorate the anniversary but try not to be too self-centered. We will, instead, seek to use our milestone as a way to celebrate this quirky, crazy, maddening, lovely town. In Pulse each issue, we’ll take a look back at some of the legendary pieces published in these pages (like Lisa DePaulo’s sui generis profile of then-Mayor Ed Rendell in 1994, “How Many Ed Rendells Are There?,” as outlined on page 26), and we’ll host a series of public discussions about topics the region needs to address to move forward. We’ll devote an entire issue to our quite-subjective ranking of our town’s 100 Moments of the past 100 years (let the debates begin), the compilation of which ought to be done in partnership with you. So visit phillymag.com and get involved in our 100th-year discussions and plans. And check out “Next,” this issue’s People to Watch, on page 65, to find out who we think will shape our next century. (Not that we’re always right; go to phillymag.com to see some of our past choices for People to Watch, like those below. You can check out Zack Stalberg — or is that Groucho Marx? — and the shot of then-radio journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal in 1981, when we described him as an “eloquent, often passionate, and always insightful” interviewer. Oops.)
Finally, it would be remiss of me to praise this publication for its longevity and relevance without giving a shout-out to the editors who made it happen through the years: the aforementioned Halpern, a media original, as well as Art Spikol, Ron Javers, Eliot Kaplan, Stephen Fried and Loren Feldman.