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Trouble, Triumph & Turning 75

San Diego Mag's executive editor discusses this next year for the mag as it celebrates its 75th year of storytelling in 2023
Jan 2023 pub note

Jan 2023 pub note

Junior year of high school, I was summoned from English class to the principal’s office. Escorted by school security, I walked slow, like someone who knows they’re about to find themselves in the deep end of a port-o. My stomach bubbled with anxiety, turning completely sour as I entered the office to see my dad already there, seated and waiting. The mood, instantly serious. Quickly I learned we were gathered to discuss whether or not I would be expelled.

I’d been ratted out. For a number of weeks, I had written, printed, and surreptitiously distributed an underground newspaper—a single-side, four-column, 8×11 screed titled Amendment One. In it, I anonymously railed against the perceived injustices of high school life, using choice expletives to call out by name the vice principals who policed our hallways like law enforcement rather than as educators. Like so many American schools, ours was underperforming, our district underfunded. School was rough. Our school newspaper, a joke. Needing an outlet, I made my own.

Half of what I wrote was libelous, the other half naive and poorly written, but I had the fight in me. I believed in the power of writing then as I do now.

That trouble I brought upon myself was the beginning of a writing career that has spanned two decades, two books, and now fortunately, brings me to San Diego Magazine as the new executive editor, helping content chief Troy Johnson lead our editorial vision into the new year alongside managing editor Jackie Bryant, digital editor Nicolle Monico, and art director Samantha Lacy. It’s an exciting time to be here. With new-ish ownership and an extended team any media org would be fortunate to have, we have big plans for 2023. We’re bringing new stories, new perspectives, and new ways of thinking about San Diego.

And we’re celebrating a major milestone.

This year marks SDM’s 75th birthday, rarefied air for a regional magazine, and a true testament to our readers and this region. We hope you’ll join us as we celebrate all year long, both in our pages and at monthly events.

To pay homage to just how far this magazine-slash-media company has come, we’re sharing vintage covers throughout the year, along with contemporary remakes we’ve commissioned from local artists. We want to honor and examine where we’ve come from, while continuing to build on this legacy, both for the magazine and for the city.

In the print issue on page 18, you’ll find the very first SDM cover from October 1948, paired with a present-day rendering we commissioned. The original cover depicts an illustration of the Majestic Hotel, at the time, one of San Diego’s most notable gathering places. The remix features Petco Park, one of today’s most iconic San Diego spots and hub of community spirit.

Speaking of covers, ours have been vibrant lately. We’re doing work we’re proud of, and this month is no exception. Tired of seeing only young women associated with wellness, we asked local social media star and busy dad, Sholom Ber Solomon, if he’d let us slather him with seaweed goo while he relaxed next to the pool at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar. People of all hirsuteness levels deserve care, after all, and he is fabulously photogenic. A natural cover star.

We can’t wait for what’s to come. Luckily, I didn’t get kicked out of school, but it’s been an interesting road from the principal’s office.

Here’s to the next 75,

Mateo Hoke, Executive Editor

By Mateo Hoke

Mateo Hoke is San Diego Magazine’s executive editor. His books include Six by Ten: Stories from Solitary, and Palestine Speaks: Narratives of Life Under Occupation.

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