A dirty little secret about Will Swaim is that six years ago, he worked, albeit briefly, as a freelance reporter for the Orange County Business Journal. Will was bright, talented and about as good a fit at the Business Journal as, say, I would be at the Weekly. He fit a little better at World Trade magazine, where he became—horrors!—a publisher. But clearly Will wasn't cut out for a career as a capitalist tool, and in serving as the Weekly's first and only editor, he has hit his stride as a social critic, gadfly and occasionally obnoxious pain in the ass.
Those descriptions apply equally well to the OC Weekly as a whole (no pun intended). But say what you will, Orange County has been better off these past five years because the Weekly has been around.
While the Business Journal and the Weekly chronicle Orange County from vastly different perspectives, there has been an odd camaraderie between our publications. (Our papers' staffs even played each other once in a softball game that ended in a symbolically fitting 24-24 tie.) Both of us have carved out niches in a market that, we were warned early on, wasn't interested enough or interesting enough to support us. We were also warned that it was hopeless to try to compete against the Register and the Times. It all sounds ludicrous now, but that's what people used to say about the Business Journal 11 years ago and about the Weekly five years ago.
It's just too bad that I can't convince the Weekly of the error of its ways. Naming me as one of Orange County's 31 Scariest People in a special Halloween issue shows how cruel it can be. But—here's my dirty little secret—I'm an OC Weekly addict. Rick Reiff, executive editor, Orange County Business Journal