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UU World Welcomes New Executive Editor

 Robert Tarutis: A new beginning
Robert Tarutis: A new beginning
Photo by Dennis Paiva
It is my pleasure to introduce Robert Tarutis to you. As the UU World's new executive editor, he will have a profound impact on how well this magazine serves you. Bob has been on the staff just over a month, and already he has a firm grip on the reins.

A member of First Parish UU in Lexington, MA, he brings an extraordinary range of experience to his new job. He is both a scholar and a popularizer, a rare combination. In coursework for a master's degree and a Ph.D. at Boston College, he has studied philosophy, American and European history, and American literature, with a special interest in the transcendentalists who left such a deep mark on Unitarianism. He's now finishing his dissertation in intellectual history, focusing on modernism and postmodernism.

While he has pursued his scholarly goals, Bob has also worked at a variety of jobs, including newspaper reporter, corporate communications manager, and documentary film producer specializing in historical topics. Several of his films were commissioned by museums; some have appeared on the History Channel. As a writer, Bob has been published widely in newspapers and magazines. In seven years at Osram Sylvania (formerly GTE Electrical Products), he founded and edited a splendid magazine called Prism for the company's employees all over the globe.

Bob uses introspective language when he explains his decision to change career paths by applying for the UU World job. "I'm in the process of redefining the type of work I want to do," he wrote in his letter of application. "I'm seeking meaningful work—you might use the phrase 'right livelihood.' " Now that he's been here a month, Bob says, he is confident of having found right livelihood and especially pleased to join the UU World just as it's been augmented and redesigned.

"I see the new approach and look of the magazine not as an end but as a beginning," he said the other day, "as an opportunity to help the staff build on a sturdy new foundation."

Bob's own foundation includes descending from a family of printers. Printing runs so deep in him that he owns a small press and a dozen cases of type, which he sets by hand—a skill he learned from his father. He fills a position that was vacant for months and was redefined three times as the search hit various snags. At one point, I was planning to hand off my editor-in-chief duties, but instead we decided, long before Bob applied, to hire a strong executive editor, so that I could hand off some of my editorial duties yet retain a role in the magazine's development. This change will free me up for my other duties as the UUA's director of communications.

The good news of Bob's arrival is tempered by the decision by David Reich, editor of the magazine, that it's time to move on. David leaves UU World readers a great legacy. For nine years he was instrumental in setting the bar higher and higher as the magazine got better and better. We will miss him, but the standards he has set will remain with us as a reminder of him and the extraordinary skill and commitment he brought to every story he wrote or edited.

—Tom Stites

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