It’s the Last JACR Blogpost and I’m Feeling Good
Bidding farewell to the JACR Blog doesn't mean having to say good-bye. It means new opportunities.
Applying for the inaugural Bruce J. Hillman Fellowship in Scholarly Publishing in 2014 was a risk that I had to take. Casting aside self-doubt, I asked myself "Why not? Why shouldn't Cinderella go the big glittery JACR ball instead of just reading a never-ending pile of radiographs and CTs in a dark room all day every day while other radiologists get to have unshackled experiences outside the hospital keep?" And so I did. The glass slipper fit and off I went to the ACR Headquarters in Reston, Virginia.Soon after I arrived, Dr. Hillman's then-Deputy Editor Dr. Ruth Carlos, who was spearheading the journal's digital initiatives strategy, asked me to start the JACR blog. Just as it was a risk for me to apply for the fellowship, Drs. Hillman and Carlos were also taking a risk by entrusting the creation of the journal's brand-new blog to me, a person uninitiated in social media, an absolute beginner. Since we'd all be taking the plunge together, whether sinking or swimming, I jumped into the drink.
I've nothing much to offer/ There's nothing much to take/ I'm an absolute beginner
- from "Absolute Beginners" by David Bowie
I'm so honored and humbled to have been afforded a wonderful platform to challenge me in unexpected ways and to be given so much latitude in what directions that exploration took, such as incorporating different writing forms and genres like poetry, autobiographical, and fiction. Through the experience of writing blogposts and working with guest bloggers to edit their material, I got to "find my voice" and develop greater confidence in expressing my opinions in writing, including as a journal peer reviewer. Since its inception, there have been 121 JACR blogposts (with over 18K hits on the most-viewed blogpost), most written by me, but over time, a greater proportion by guest bloggers, since it was important that we get more voices that represented the wider readership of the journal. In addition, meeting a weekly writing deadline became increasingly difficult with competing demands, a.k.a. increased productivity pressures compressing more and more administrative and academic work into evenings and weekends, along with family commitments.
In a world of ever-evolving social media platforms, it's only natural that tastes and preferences change. For example, remember MySpace? It's become a ghost town except for some hardcore loyalists. The ACR and JACR also have a shifting assortment of digital offerings, currently including the ACR's Voice of Radiology blog and JACR's podcast series. By opening JACR blogpost submission to the general radiology community on the same manuscript management platform as the journal one year ago, the hope was that more people would find the blog an attractive venue for writing short opinion pieces with faster turn-around from submission to on-line publication than regular journal submissions. However, radiologists can now post their unfiltered opinions and responses on the member-only ACR Forum without editorial scrutiny and without the need for a production team. Where did this leave the JACR blog? When we didn't achieve the needed volume to sustain the blog organically, we decided to sunset the blog.
Unlike the word "stop", "sunset" evokes anticipation of the arrival of a new day's dawn. The blog was always meant as an exploration, rather than a destination. As the blog was starting to wind down, I finally wrote something in JACR that I would not have before this experience and helped a colleague do the same. So I see the next phase of my relationship with JACR as mentoring others embarking on their own authoring journeys. I hope to instill in others, particularly radiology trainees, the desire to write and the confidence to share that writing, whatever form it takes, as an author, as a peer reviewer, or both. I hope many of you will join me in 2019 and beyond.
Don't stop me now ('cause I'm having a good time)
Don't stop me now (yes, I'm havin' a good time)
I don't want to stop at all
-from "Don't Stop Me Now" by Queen
Speaking of the new year, Bruce Hillman has hung up his JACR Editor-in-Chief hat, with his former deputy Ruth Carlos stepping into his shoes. As Dr. Hillman hands the reins over to Dr. Carlos, it's like when Brian May and Roger Taylor of legendary rock band Queen tapped Adam Lambert, whose lung capacity is likely the envy of many elite swimmers, to fill the frontman role of the late great Freddie Mercury: you know the results will be epic, because Ruth is such a rockstar!
My eternal thanks to the dynamic duo of Bruce and Ruth, first for creating a scholarly publishing fellowship, second for selecting me when there were other worthy candidates, third for putting their trust in me to make the JACR blog something they could be proud of, and fourth for the sheer joy of getting to know them as the wonderful human beings they are!
I have enjoyed the opportunity to meet so other many lovely and dedicated people too, such as ACR leaders, ACR Press staff members, patient advocates, Elsevier staff, and fellow radiologists, some of whom have also contributed to the blog or otherwise made it possible. The achievements of the JACR blog represent our shared success. I feel blessed to belong to this special community, to have a greater connection to others in radiology, my "tribe". You've helped shape me into who I am today. To all of you I give my sincerest gratitude. I look forward to our next JACR adventure together. Namaste!
- from "Feeling Good" by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley from the musical The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd. This song has been covered by many artists since its debut in 1965. What's your favorite?