When F+W Media fired Megan Fitzpatrick on Dec. 5, 2017, there were people inside and outside the organization who gloated over the news. That statement isn’t news. I am qualified to tell you that you don’t get to be the editor of a magazine or newspaper without making a few enemies.
I’m sure their hope was that Megan would leave the woodworking media industry with her tail between her legs. Perhaps she’d get a job in public relations or with a business-to-business magazine. Those are honorable places to land, but they are a step down from the high-wire act that is editing a national consumer magazine.
But Megan didn’t disappear into an invisible job. And today, the shoe is on the other foot.
F+W imploded, went bankrupt and sold off its assets for pennies on the dollar. The people who gloated over her firing were dismissed or have dissipated into the ether.
Megan, on the other hand, has just had her first article published in Fine Woodworking magazine (April 2020, issue 281). She is the editor of The Chronicle, the journal of the Early American Industries Association – a part-time gig. She is in high demand as a woodworking teacher all over the country. She publishes work through her own imprint, Rude Mechanicals Press, and copy edits Mortise & Tenon Magazine. She dove into commission work and now sells tool chests and other custom furniture pieces. And yes, she does some work for Lost Art Press (plus some other jobs that I’m sure I’ve forgotten).
She earned this work on her own merits, including the work she does for me. (I have a pile of resumes of people who want to edit our stuff. I am lucky to have her.)
As far as I can tell, she makes as much (or maybe more) money than she did at Popular Woodworking. And she’s a happier person, to boot (I am also qualified to tell you that editing a magazine is not a tonic for mental health).
Why am I telling you this? She cannot. She signed a non-disclosure agreement (an NDA) when she left F+W and honors that agreement, even though the company is kaput. I, however, never signed an NDA.
So congrats go out today to Megan. Who survived and thrived after a media company tried to kick her to the curb.
Sometimes, the nice person wins.
— Christopher Schwarz