The Blank Page

March 1, 2003
Wayne Koberstein
Wayne Koberstein

Wayne Koberstein, a 25-year veteran of the publishing industry, is editor-in-chief of Pharmaceutical Executive magazine. In 14 years as PE's Editor, he has overseen the emergence of the magazine as the leading business and marketing publication for the global pharma industry. He has interviewed and profiled more than 150 top executives in pharmaceutical companies, as well as major regulatory and healthcare leaders, around the world. Wayne has also directed the launch of numerous supplements and other ancillary business for the publication.

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No greater challenge faces any writer than the empty page. To sully that beautiful white space with mere words can seem so arrogant, so pretentious, that one's urge is to leave it alone, in perfect blankness. To paraphrase an old writer's adage, just to begin may require lowering your standards-an act salvaged later only by careful editing.

No greater challenge faces any writer than the empty page. To sully that beautiful white space with mere words can seem so arrogant, so pretentious, that one's urge is to leave it alone, in perfect blankness. To paraphrase an old writer's adage, just to begin may require lowering your standards-an act salvaged later only by careful editing.

It has been my unique task and ultimate pleasure to face this empty page-and countless others-every month for nearly 17 years. Each time, my goal has been to fill this space with thoughts and ideas that resonate with the needs and interests of Pharmaceutical Executive readers. In that time, I've also written more than 150 cover stories, including Executive Profiles and special reports, to join all the other pages authored and edited by our outstanding staff. Now, at last, I face the last page in my stewardship of the magazine.

As I relinquish the position of PE's Editor-in-Chief, I thank its owner, Advanstar Communications, for this opportunity to say farewell to you-the magazine's readers, advisors, managers, and staff. For a number of reasons, the time has come for me to leave PE in the hands of a new generation. It has been quite a ride-covering nearly three quarters of the magazine's life-since I inherited this position from former Editor Judee Shuler, now head of corporate communications at Eisai USA. She and a previous editor-in-chief, Suzanne Harvey, had already established a tradition of excellence in the editorial product. My aim, stated first in this space, was to "maintain and improve" upon that heritage.

In time, with a succession of top-notch staff editors, I saw PE evolve into a not-to-be-ignored player in the pharma industry, one with a clear mission of leadership. Only when I was absolutely sure that we were fulfilling that mission did I inscribe it. For two years, we have published the mission, for all to see and judge, on our contacts page.

Perhaps the ultimate example of the mission in action was our "Discovery!" series, which last year won the Oscar of business publishing, the Grand Neal. But the same directive has also driven all aspects of the magazine. This year, for "best single issue," PE is again in the running for the Neal, to be announced this month.

Wishing the best of luck to the current PE team, I say farewell but not goodbye to all my friends who read this column. Thank you for all your help and support through these many years.

So, why am I leaving? Partly because I've always aimed to end my tenure when the magazine had reached a pinnacle but still had plenty of growth potential-and long before I grew bored with it. All three conditions now apply.

But be assured: My departure is a renewal, not a retirement. Truly, I wish to take on adventurous new assignments and roles that make sense in light of my interests and experience.

Another reason for leaving: I have never been able to seek other challenges while still engaged with the magazine. I can now explore opportunities that challenge me more, not less, than past endeavors. Yet, here, my final page as PE's chief editor is filled. And this hand, having written, will move on.