“My Rise and Fall: Roger Hodge on The State of Magazines”
Friday, March 5, 7 p.m.
Center for Documentary Studies Auditorium
Roger Hodge, until recently the editor of Harper’s Magazine, will discuss the prospects of long-form journalism into the future as he recounts his experiences working with writers and offers his perspectives on the shifting landscape in the publishing industry.
Hodge began his journalism career as a freelance writer in 1989. After a lengthy detour through the thickets of academic philosophy, Hodge was hired by Harper’s Magazine as a fact checker in 1996. He joined the magazine’s acclaimed Readings section in 1997 and edited the section from 1999 to 2003. Under his leadership the Readings section strengthened its political and literary focus while continuing to publish outrageous comic and historically significant primary documents, as well as a judicious selection of the best poems and essays to be found in the little magazines and forthcoming books. Hodge also brought a new emphasis on contemporary art to the magazine, and came to treat the artwork published in each issue of the Readings section as a carefully curated exhibit of paintings and photographs drawn from galleries all around the world. In December 2000 Hodge orchestrated the relaunch of the magazine’s website, Harpers.org, and created the popular “Weekly Review,” a deadpan satire of the twenty-four hour news feed. In the fall of 2003 Hodge left the Readings section to devote more of his attention to long-form journalism. In December 2003 he oversaw another radical redesign of Harpers.org; that month he also began writing a monthly print column, “Findings,” a sardonic portrait of recent medical, scientific, and environmental developments. Hodge was named Deputy Editor of the magazine in November 2004 and became Editor in April 2006.
Hodge was born in 1967 and raised in Del Rio, Texas, where his family has been in the ranching business for five generations. He attended the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, and eventually made his way to New York City in pursuit of a Ph.D. in philosophy at The New School for Social Research. Hodge received a master’s degree for a thesis on the logic of Aristotle’s metaphysics but abandoned his dissertation on Spinoza’s theory of freedom to work at Harper’s Magazine. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife and their two sons.