The Time of My Life

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This is my last issue as Managing Editor of TIME. When I began the job in January 2001, I had no special agenda. I did hope to explore subjects that might not be obvious from the week's headlines but that were critical for our future. In my first few months, we ran covers on AIDS in Africa, global warming and life along the U.S.-Mexican border.

Then September 11 happened.

We do not get to pick the times we live in; all we can do during times of great tumult is work at making sense of what is happening around us. I have always thought of TIME's readers as a community--a community of citizens who may have their political differences but who are intensely curious and who believe in reporting that is deep and insightful and honest about the subject at hand. TIME's mandate is to make sense of the world for its readers, and its trustworthiness is its most valuable asset.

Reading Daniel Okrent's fine collection of his columns for the New York Times, Public Editor #1, I came across this quote from Daniel Patrick Moynihan: "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts." TIME values smart, sharp and divergent opinion, but of paramount importance is that the reader can depend on TIME's reporting. You might have disagreed with our interpretation of the facts, but we tried very hard to get the facts right.

I oversaw about 275 covers. Looking at them the other day, I kept being drawn to those that not only captured a historic moment but also sparked a conversation among our readers. Here are some of the covers, in chronological order, that have special meaning for me.

Elsewhere in this issue you will find a masthead listing my wonderful colleagues on both the business and editorial sides of TIME. A predecessor of mine once told me that in weeks of great tumult, sometimes the smartest thing a managing editor could do, if he was lucky enough to be surrounded by talented and committed journalists, was to get out of their way.

I got out of their way.

James Kelly, Managing Editor