Fresh From the Oven

Photo by Jon Estrada

Photo by Jon Estrada

It seems like there’s a stat for everything these days. Here at Vegas Seven, perhaps the most telling one is the PNO, or Pizza Not Eaten. In our early days—that was back in 2010, when the mountains were still forming and journalists roamed the earth—our Tuesday deadlines were a sort of delightful summer-camp ordeal. At 6 p.m., the pizza orders would go out. By 6:45 p.m., the famished crew members were devouring—allow me to use the uncouth word snarfing—slices of pepperoni-and-olive pie at their keyboards, leaving pink-gray grease stains on the galleys we passed around. By 8 or 9, they were ready for seconds. If we were tireless, focused and a little bit lucky, we’d vacate the premises, tummies full, by 10.

Then, almost imperceptibly, something began to change. As we negotiated the badlands of 2011 in our still-recession-wracked city, our sense of task sharpened, our identity began to crystallize and, lo and behold, we found ourselves finishing the magazine before the pizza was gone. Staffers divided the cheesy loot and took it home. One Tuesday that autumn, we didn’t bother to place an order. We haven’t eaten a deadline pizza since.

That’s not to say we slacked off—our rising PNO numbers meant the gang at the office could focus on bigger things, and over the past couple of years, you may have noticed them: Sean DeFrank’s standard-setting features on Jerry Tarkanian’s long reign and Tupac Shakur’s last night; Cindi Moon Reed’s wild rides through the careers of Siegfried & Roy and Penn & Teller; Xania Woodman’s vibrant stewardship of our nightlife and dining coverage; brilliant design from Ryan Olbrysh and his team; a fast-evolving website thanks to the efforts of Felicia Mello, Nicole Ely and Jason Scavone. And we’re all in debt to Paul Szydelko’s eagle-eyed copy editing and fact checking. In Seven’s first four years, our team brought home more than 80 state and regional awards. This is not a big media conglomerate; we blasted off together from ground zero, and it’s been an unforgettable ride.

So, why this sudden burst of three-topping nostalgia? Well, this is my last issue as editor of Vegas Seven. I’ll be stepping down to build Olympian Creative, a coaching firm dedicated to helping individuals and organizations reach their creative potential. But first I want to thank the guy who helped me chase my own potential: Phil Hagen, the WENDOH Media editorial director who gave Vegas Seven form, breathed life into it and watched it grow with sharp but benevolent eyes. Phil, who left WENDOH at the end of May to pursue outside projects, is a media visionary, an extraordinary mentor and a good friend.

One final note, a forward glance: Matt Jacob has been a fabulous writer (look up his history of the Ruvo Center), a stalwart senior editor and a fount of witty betting advice. But above all, Matt is a leader, and you’ll see the stamp of his leadership every week in Vegas Seven as he takes over the challenges, pleasures and occasional stomach aches that go with being the editor. Good luck, Matt; good luck, Seven! I’ve got plenty more gratitude to dole out; let’s all meet sometime over a thin-crust.

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