Yearly, the 52 Locations to Go subject is the preferred one the Journey part does. It’s additionally essentially the most sophisticated.
There’s the print product, in fact, with its lush, I-wish-I-were-there pictures. There’s the web model, with movies scattered all through. And this yr, we added yet one more layer: the 52 Locations Traveler — a writer-at-large who will go to each spot on the record in 2018.
So on the similar time that we have been sifting via options of which locations to incorporate, and the right way to rank them, from dozens of our common contributors — who, frankly, know the world rather a lot higher than we editors do — we have been additionally sifting via greater than 13,000 submissions (sure, you learn that proper) for an unprecedented and much-talked-about job posting.
Since readers are prone to surprise how we arrived at each these choices (and which one got here first), right here’s a behind-the-scenes look.
First the locations.
As we do yearly, we requested our contributors to appoint locations that will be significantly thrilling spots to go to within the coming yr: due to new inns, resorts, museums or eating places; as a result of there’s a new solution to get there (or get round as soon as you might be there); or due to the emergence of a cultural scene of some kind.
After studying their submissions, the Journey editors met. And met. And met. It may well typically get contentious. I keep in mind a debate in regards to the 2014 record that revolved across the inclusion of St. Petersburg, Fla. One in all my colleagues in Journey, Lynda Richardson, had lived there for 5 years and was outraged we have been contemplating it. “Fellini-esque,” she referred to as it, and never in a great way. It ended up on the record. “I made peace with that,” she informed me just lately.
We thought rather a lot in regards to the No. 1 alternative — in the end deciding on New Orleans, on the event of its 300th birthday (see the merchandise by yours actually, the venture’s coordinating editor) — and tried to verify there was somewhat one thing for each sort of traveler via the remainder of the record, offering a geographic and thematic combine.
So what about that 52 Locations Traveler? It’s an concept that has been percolating for the final couple of years, however all the time appeared too daunting to drag off. This yr, we lastly posted the job. We anticipated a passionate response from a bunch of inveterate vacationers — however I can’t say we anticipated 13,000 submissions.
A workforce of 4, together with myself, divided up the functions and took not less than a glancing have a look at all of them, diving into those we thought confirmed essentially the most promise. Over many multi-hour periods, we narrowed the record to 139 individuals — together with a father-daughter workforce and Buzz Bissinger, the writer of “Friday Night time Lights” — and requested every to ship a video introduction, in addition to a pattern video story from the highway for posting to Instagram.
We narrowed the record additional, to 6 finalists. One is an editor at a serious journey journal. One other works as a breaking information videographer for a TV community. One other is a lawyer-turned-journalist. (Mr. Bissinger, sadly, didn’t make the minimize, although his submission video was as compelling as one would anticipate.)
A workforce of parents from across the newsroom — representing the Journey part, the video division and the picture division — met with these candidates both in individual or by video chat. All have been spectacular — certainly, any one in all them may have executed the job.
However ultimately, we selected Jada Yuan. Jada just isn’t an expert journey journalist, however she possesses a few of these abilities. As a author at New York journal for the final decade, she has profiled loads of celebrities, however she has additionally parachuted into movie festivals and presidential conventions — every time having to search out her footing in a brand new place. She is aware of the right way to find attention-grabbing individuals to speak to. And he or she is aware of the right way to insert herself into a chunk in a approach that’s each private and insightful (take, for instance, her article for Cosmopolitan journal on attempting up to now in six U.S. cities).
We’re attempting to attach Jada with a number of of the candidates who made the primary minimize. Jamie Lafferty, a journey author from Glasgow (No. 10 on the locations record) has kindly supplied to be her information to his hometown, and we’re going to take him up on that. We’re hoping that different candidates will do the identical.
Jada begins her journey around the globe in New Orleans in lower than two weeks. She gained’t be doing the record sequentially — that will be, effectively, insane (attempt getting from No. 6 rural Chile to No. 7 South Korea, for instance). So after New Orleans, she heads to a couple different cities within the southern United States, then farther south to the Caribbean and Latin America. We will’t wait to tag alongside along with her.