‘To Publish Challenging Ideas’

Celebrating 40 years of service to the people who serve in government.

Forty years ago this month, C.W. Borklund wrote the following in his debut column as editor and publisher of a nascent magazine: "What you have here is the first monthly issue of a brand-new publication written for and about experts in running the machinery of government. Government Executive is being published as one helpful, we hope, answer to an increasingly frequent complaint by key persons both in and doing business with government: Communications both to and among government agencies needs vast improvement."

Four decades later, we hope we have done at least a little to improve the quality of those communications and to edify and entertain the "experts in running the machinery of government"-whose jobs are more important than ever.

"Our plan," Borklund wrote in 1969, "is, mainly, to publish challenging ideas no matter whose nerve ends they jar; tempered only by the demand that our work be responsible journalism."

We have endeavored to follow that creed to this day.

In 1971, Borklund personally acquired the rights to Government Executive from original owner Litton Publications Inc. He ran the operation well into the 1980s. In 1987, the esteemed Washington publication National Journal, then a part of the Times Mirror media enterprise, bought the magazine. At that point Timothy B. Clark took over as editor, a position he would hold for more than 20 years. (And he's still an active presence at the magazine, as his leadership of many of our events and his Perspectives column at the back of this issue will attest).

Then, in 1997, the magazine's history took another major turn when David Bradley purchased the National Journal Group. Bradley eventually would add another publication to his holdings - the venerable Atlantic Monthly - creating one of the most influential media organizations in the country.

Through the history of Government Executive, talented people have been at the core of what we've done. Our editorial alumni have gone on to National Journal, The New York Times, News-week, Washingtonian, Congressional Quarterly, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, and many other illustrious publications. The writers and editors responsible for the work we produce today are among the most gifted people in the field of journalism.

Likewise, our sales and marketing staffs have taken a modest magazine publishing effort and built it into an enterprise that encompasses not only a printed magazine, but two Web sites - GovernmentExecutive.com and Nextgov.com - a flagship conference called Excellence in Government, and a series of other live and online events.

Through that process, we have learned that it's not the format in which we publish our work that matters, but the quality. We remain deeply committed to that proposition. We've been on the Web-and interacting with our audience-for more than 12 years, and we pledge to continue to explore new ways to facilitate the sharing of information among government's leaders.

Government Executive was founded on the notion that the people who serve in high-ranking positions in the executive branch are worthy of being treated with the same respect and deserve the same high-quality journalism as America's corporate elite. It has been, and remains, our privilege to serve an audience whose work is so critical to the nation's future.

Borklund ended his debut column this way: "We hope to earn one day soon the same accolade George Washington granted a brand-new federal agency created in 1776: "This, like other great works in its first Edition, may not be entirely free from Error. Time will discover its Defects and Experience suggest the Remedy . . . but it was right to give it a Beginning."

We hope you agree that launching this magazine was the right decision, and that we should build on our four-decade tradition of service to the people who strive to make government more effective. We have every intention of continuing to publish responsible journalism on challenging ideas for as long as we have an audience for our work.

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