Photo by Rebecca Evans.Wyn Hilty was theWeekly's first managing editor. Three years ago, she moved to Chicago. Earlier this summer, she moved to Seattle. She contributes to our technology column, Machine Age.
Being in on the beginning of the Weekly was like trying to build a car with only a catalytic converter, a seat belt and a ratchet set. We were a tiny, tiny crew in those days; the first issue was looming, and we had about 80 pages to fill and no idea how to fill them.
Man, did we work cheap. We did interviews in Diedrich Coffee. Our first editorial meetings were around our editor's dining room table and, later, on the floor of our office (we had an office before we had desks or, indeed, chairs). Along about issue 3, I went out to cover a protest at a local gun manufacturer's facilities, across the street from our own office. We couldn't get a photographer there, so I took along my little $100 pocket camera and stood there taking pictures alongside guys from the Times and the Reg, their photographers draped like Christmas trees with all manner of cameras and lenses and light meters, their combined value probably greater than my annual salary.
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When we needed a photo of a corpse for our cover, we dragged our calendar editor, protesting, out to the parking lot, made him lie down on the asphalt with his head on a cookie sheet, draped our chief's white T-shirt over his chest, and took a picture.
But somehow, it all worked. We got through the first issue and realized that we'd had three months to do that one and one week to do the next. But No. 2 got out the door, as did the next one, and by that point, we had started to relax and enjoy ourselves.
And it was fun. We managed to make it work on a shoestring because we had assembled a collection of the most cantankerous, opinionated, multitalented, brilliant people I have ever worked with. Everyone wore five or six hats (seven on weekends). We argued and fought and traded drug stories and got drunk and in general had a blast, even when we couldn't stand the sight of one another. Now, five years later, I still count most of those people among my coworkers as my friends. People have come and gone; enemies have come and gone.
And it's still fun. Wyn Hilty