I’ve known Erin Kissane virtually for around a decade now — our IRL paths almost crossed a few years ago when she was still living in New York City and I gave a talk at Vassar, but that’s as close as we’ve come — and I have always had enormous admiration for her kind heart and steel spine. I was reminded of that admiration when I read her summing-up post for her year as the managing editor of the Covid Tracking Project. I strongly encourage you to read it all, and pay particular attention to these three sentences:
I suspect that intentional constraints on scope and scale allow for deeper, more satisfying, and ultimately more useful work. I suspect that a disciplined commitment to messy truths over smooth narratives would also breathe life into technology, journalism, and public health efforts that too frequently paper over the complex, many-voiced nature of the world. And I suspect that treating people like humans who are intrinsically motivated to do useful work in the world, and who deserve genuine care, allows far more people to do their best work without destroying themselves in the process.
I would love to see more institutions, whether in crisis time or in “normal” time, think long and hard about those three lessons, so beautifully articulated by Erin. Now I hope she can get some rest!