Today is Managing Editor Kevin Lomangino’s final day with HealthNewsReview.org, marking the beginning of the end for our project, which comes to a close in December. Besides Publisher Gary Schwitzer, nobody has had a bigger impact on the site than Kevin, who has written or edited thousands of reviews and blog posts since he joined the team. We’ll all miss him dearly, and wanted to put in a few good words before he formally signs off.
Gary Schwitzer, Publisher
In college at Marquette, I was fortunate to observe a wonderful partnership between fiery head basketball coach Al McGuire and his more professorial assistant, Hank Raymonds. Al would say that he was the master of ceremonies but that Hank was the real coach – “the x’s and o’s guy.” They won a national championship together in 1977. In emails and phone calls with Kevin, I’ve sometimes called him Hank and me Al. Like Hank and Al, Kevin and I have very different styles, but our minds meshed about how we had to help people improve their critical thinking about health care.
For the first 8.5 years of this project, I flew solo as the only person working full-time on this project. But out of about 20 occasional part-time editorial contributors, Kevin stood out as the most reliable. Then, four years ago when I landed enough funding to hire a #2, I was fortunate that Kevin was between jobs and available. Increasingly, I turned over more responsibility for the day-to-day editorial management to him.
”I enjoyed only the game,” Al McGuire said. “I hated practice, recruiting, administration. Too many memos.” Because of Kevin’s style and how he grew into the managing editor role, I got to enjoy the game a bit more. (Except fundraising.) I started taking HealthNewsReview.org on the road more, averaging 15 talks or workshops per year, doing many media interviews, and always hunting for new funding prospects. I could walk away from what I did solo for so long because of confidence in Kevin’s knowledge and ability.
Everyone should have the chance to work with such a nice guy every day. We had a great run together – a longer working relationship than I’ve had with anyone except for my wife. I hope he gets a head coaching job in the future.
Joy Victory, Deputy Managing Editor
The hardest part for me is saying goodbye to someone who has been a terrific boss. Since I started working at HealthNewsReview.org in 2016, Kevin has been unflappably patient, kind, and eager to listen to off-the-wall suggestions for blog posts. He was often a cheerleader for my writing, sharing it on Twitter with a thoughtful quote. I feel confident speaking for the team that we’re all going to be bleating like distraught goats without his support and superb editing skills.
Michael Joyce, Writer-Producer
One day it dawned on me that a great editor shares many of the same traits we attribute to a doctor with great bedside manner: They listen intently, quickly grasp the situation and focus on the core issues, and ultimately provide a distillation and way forward that clarifies everything. Boom! Just like that. Somehow Kevin manages to do that with grace and integrity. I shake my head, smile, and feel lucky.
Mary Chris Jaklevic, Reporter-Editor
Shhh. Don’t tell Kevin, but my computer screen is surrounded with sticky notes on which I’ve scribbled phrases he’s uttered during our phone calls over the last two and a half years. Things like “polluted stream” (referring to things like misleading PR releases that lead to problematic news coverage) and “shoot for 85%” (a reminder to rein in my tendency toward perfectionism). He might not recall saying these things, but Kevin’s words will continue to guide me even as the stickies fall away.
Jill U. Adams, Associate Editor
Kevin is everything you want in an editor: He’s super encouraging and nonjudgmental, nudging you and your piece to be better. He’s clear-eyed on how to tie a particular post’s theme to our overall mission and has a keen ear for tone. That combo — editing that’s both supportive and sure-handed — makes the difficult task of writing, especially writing with a point of view, easier. I’ll miss having him to bounce ideas off and having him polish my drafts.
Kathlyn Stone, Associate Editor
Along with his ability to sort through the noise and hone in on what’s really important, I’ve come to admire Kevin’s unflappable style. During the course of reviewing news releases against our 10-point criteria we’d sometimes get push-back from PR staff and researchers who felt their work was maligned by our review. One Scandinavian researcher who was sorely insulted by our review of a release on his supplement study even referred to us essentially as “nobodies from Trumpistan” that he had no intention of listening to. I recall Kevin ignoring that jab and in his response, driving home the problems with the release. I really admire his focus and wisdom and I know they will continue to serve him well.