FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SEPTEMBER 12, 2013
VETERAN JOURNALIST AND HISTORIAN JON CHRISTENSEN TAKES EDITORIAL HELM, REBOOTS BOOM: A JOURNAL OF CALIFORNIA WITH LIVELY FALL ISSUE
BOOM’S INFORMAL MISSION OF HOSTING ONE OF “LIVELIEST DINNER CONVERSATIONS IN CALIFORNIA” TO BE MADE REAL AT DINNER PARTIES AROUND THE STATE
Berkeley, CA—Veteran journalist and UCLA historian Jon Christensen has taken over the editorial helm of Boom: A Journal of California, an innovative quarterly from the University of California Press. The journal has moved from UC Davis to the English Department at UCLA, and the fall issue, Christensen’s first, was mailed to subscribers today.
Christensen plans to build on the early success of this award-winning publication, which the Library Journal said “finds a sweet spot by combining the best… of scholarly journals and popular magazines” in a lavishly illustrated format. “Our goal is to host one of the smartest, liveliest, most passionate and fun dinner conversations in California each quarter,” Christensen said, “by bringing writers, photographers, artists, policymakers, advocates, entrepreneurs, and others together with the best researchers and scholars to talk not just about California, but about California in the world.”
The dinner party is not just a metaphor, Christensen said. He and some of the authors in his first issue, including book critic David L. Ulin and historian William Deverell, will host dinner party conversations around the Los Angeles area with readers to talk about the subject of Boom’s fall special issue on the Los Angeles Aqueduct’s 100th anniversary. By looking at the past, present, and future of the city’s water supply, this special issue reveals the myriad ways that water connects LA to California, the American West, and the world.
Columbia Journalism Review [see link below] recently wrote that Boom “is breaking ground, in terms of the character of its content and its business model.” The review continued: “The best academics and smartest journalists should be natural allies in the effort to bring new ideas to the public square. Boom has made a nice start toward fostering such an alliance.”
“Christensen’s journalistic and scholarly bona fides include a long career as an in-depth environmental and science writer and a stint as the executive director of the Bill Lane Center for the American West, an interdisciplinary effort located at Stanford University that attempts to meld scholarly research and smart journalism,” wrote the review.
Now at UCLA, Christensen “brings unparalleled energy to Boom,” said UC Press Publisher Kim Robinson. “He is already at the center of many conversations about the current state and future of California. And we couldn’t be more thrilled that Jon is sharing with Boom his enormous creativity as a writer, thinker, and switchboard for people and ideas.”
While centered on the core print and digital publication, Boom extends its reach well beyond. “Our mission is to start, inspire, and sustain conversations,” Christensen said, “with a beautifully illustrated, elegantly written quarterly journal, a fresh, interactive web site and social media, partnerships with other media, and lively, stimulating events with partners around the state.”
In addition to dinner parties around Los Angeles, which readers will be able to join, Boom will also host an open public party to celebrate its reboot on October 24th from 7 to 9 p.m. at 830 Traction Avenue in Los Angeles (RSVP for the dinner parties and public party at BoomCalifornia.com). Future issues in the works—on visions of California’s future in the world and California in world literature, music, art, and culture—will be accompanied by other innovative conversations with readers and public events around the state.
For a preview of the fall issue, see the cover below and click here for a preview of the table of contents.
Jon Christensen is an adjunct assistant professor and Pritzker Fellow in the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability and the Department of History at the University of California, Los Angeles. Previously, Jon was executive director of the Bill Lane Center for the American West, an interdisciplinary center for research, teaching, new media and journalism at Stanford University. He has been an environmental journalist and science writer for 30 years and his work has appeared in The New York Times, Nature, High Country News, and many other newspapers, magazines, journals, and radio and television shows. He was Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford in 2002-2003 and a Steinbeck Fellow at San Jose State University in 2003-2004, before returning to Stanford to work on a Ph.D. in History. Jon’s passion for California, his cross-disciplinary approach to research and writing, and his new home within the UC make him an excellent fit for taking up the journal at this critical point in its development.
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