I'm often asked these days whether In These Times will change as a result of my becoming publisher. Not in the near future. Nothing dramatic will happen to the editorial content, though in January we plan to add four pages to the magazine as we change to a glossy cover.

In the long term, I expect to see In These Times playing to our considerable strengths. What are these? What differentiates In These Timess from the other journals of the left? Recently I met with the staff to discuss what the magazine stands for. The result is this mission statement:

In These Timess is a newsmagazine committed to extending political and economic democracy in the United States and around the world and to opposing the dominance of transnational corporations and the tyranny of marketplace values over human values. To achieve those ends, In These Times is dedicated to reporting the news in accordance with the highest journalistic standards; to informing and analyzing popular movements for social, environmental and economic justice; and to providing an accessible forum for debate about the public policies that shape our future.

This highlights four areas of strength that differentiate In These Times:

In These Times focuses on democratic movements throughout the world. The tone of many American magazines (and of so much of U.S. media in general) seems to be that only what happens here is newsworthy. At In These Times we don't accept this. We believe that reporting on the movements for economic justice and democracy in other countries illuminates and informs our struggle for real democracy here at home. In just the last few issues, we have reported on popular movements in Colombia, East Timor, Mexico and Yugoslavia.

In These Times continues to be opposed to the growing power of multinational capitalism. Transnational corporations represent a grave threat to the fabric of democracy. At its worst, the capitalist mentality subjugates human values to the dictates of the market, putting the wallet before the heart. We believe that people are more important than profits. In These Times speaks with a strong voice against the huge impersonal bureaucracies that benefit the few at the expense of the many. We stand for the value of community, not for the power of oligarchy. (For example, see David Moberg's "Which Side Are You On?" in the October 16 issue.)

In These Times commits itself to producing outstanding journalism. We emphasize reporting as well as commentary. That's why every year In These Times is honored by Project Censored for reporting stories the corporate press doesn't see fit to print. The magazine is written in language accessible to a broad populace. We believe that an important function of the magazine is to serve as a forum for debate; to engage in a dialogue on the issues most relevant to the left; to communicate rather than lecture. That's why we have devoted so much space to the important Nader-versus-Gore debate.

Finally, we will continue our historic mission to report on and analyze popular movements for social, environmental and economic justice. We have a long-term commitment to help build a viable movement on the left. Our function is both to provide information and to foster public discussion and debate of movement tactics and strategy. (For example, see John Nichols' "The Great Debate" in the November 13 issue.)

This is how we see ourselves as In These Times nears its 24th anniversary. But we believe that you, our readers, are the best judges of In These Times. What do you see as our strengths and weaknesses? What do you think of our mission? Later this year you'll get a chance to respond to our reader survey. In the meantime, we'd love to hear from you. Please send your comments to me at (and you can always drop us a line via "snail mail").

Thanks for your continuing support of In These Times. I look forward to serving you as publisher and hearing what you have to say.