Editor turnover is a constant, healthy thing in the journals world, and editors ending their terms are usually excited about having more time to dedicate to their own writing, research, and other creative endeavors.  Yet it’s still sad to no longer be in such constant communication after a number of years of working closely together.  In late 2010, I bid a sad farewell to Michael Hicks of American Music and to Harry Berger and Giovanna Del Negro of Journal of American Folklore.

Sure, starting afresh with incoming editors means a little more work and getting to know new people, which can be refreshing.  Best of all, it’s exciting to see the changes, big and small, new editors bring to a journal.

Jim Leary and Tom DuBois, the new editors for Journal of American Folklore, have an editorial in their first issue (schedule to hit mailboxes and Project Muse around January 17), which discusses their aims for the journal during their editorship.  Leary and DuBois note, “inspired by Finley Peter Dunne’s dictum that a good newspaper should ‘comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable,’ we hope to foster journal issues that spark interest, discovery, argument, reflection, the improbable submission of just the right number and variety of publishable manuscripts, and above all, a sense that JAF communicates with and for the full range of folklorists active in the twenty-first century.”

Lofty goals?  Well, as we near the publication of their first issue, it’s clear that they and their editorial team are highly motivated, and I think they’ve already hit their mark.  In addition to the scholarly case studies and analyses of folklore topics and the film, exhibit, sound, and book reviews you’ve come to expect, you’ll also find a creative writing offering, a personal account of the relationship between a researcher and research subjects in long-term folklore work, and a new review section for websites.

Congratulations to all involved.

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