Hi, my name is Sherri L. Smith and on January 3, 2020, I received some news that would change my life. I was sitting at the sink, getting my hair dyed purple when I got the call — I had been named Editor in Chief of Laptop Mag. After making sure I wasn’t being punked, I burst into ugly tears and proceeded to call the most important people in my life to let them know. The next day, I flew into CES 2020 a newly-minted EIC.
I went to my appointments and informed all my contacts, who all said “Again?” when they learned of my promotion. Maybe it should have hit me during the show what a big deal this was, but I was too busy shaking hands, filing stories and bonding with my team to really let it sink in.
When I got back to NYC, I made announcements on social media and someone pointed out that I was the first African-American woman EIC of a major tech publication. I didn’t believe it and asked coworkers if it was true, which led to a few online inquiries. Apparently, it’s true (if not, please let me know, I’m not about stealing anyone’s thunder). And while I’ve done some interviews about it, the news still hasn’t really hit me.
But fast forward to now; We’re in lockdown due to Covid-19, during a time of extreme social unrest due to yet another spate of African-American men and women being murdered by a combination of racial animus and police brutality and it’s hit me. Because it could easily be any of the black men in my life. Hell, it could even be me, just because I dare to exist in spaces where people don’t expect to see a black woman. So let me say unequivocally that black lives matter — we matter and in the tech space, we’re seriously underrepresented.
So here’s where that promotion comes in. Laptop Mag is evolving. We’re expanding into new categories, including headphones, VPNs, virtual and augmented reality, PC and console gaming (yes, consoles!). Basically, anything that you can attach to your laptop or use to augment it in some way, we’re going there. But don’t worry, we’re not abandoning our bread and butter. Laptop Mag is still the number 1 destination for laptop reviews, face-offs, how-tos and deep dives. This is also still the place for Tech Support Showdown, Best and Worst Brands and Best and Worst Gaming Brands. And we’re working on other special reports that leverage our in-depth original reporting to help consumers.
Laptop Mag is currently a scrappy team of five. Three members of the team are African American women and as I continue to grow into the massive shoes of this position, I’m looking to expand the ranks of my writers. I’m doing this in a number of ways. As we slowly emerge from this pandemic, I will be on the hunt for talented writers from all walks of life. Do you have a passion for tech and can you write about it in a friendly, yet authoritative fashion? Hit me up at email@example.com.
I’m also dedicated to ramping up mentoring efforts in elementary and high schools with majority black and brown students. I’m also going to search for talent at local colleges. Hopefully, my journey will find me making my way back to my alma mater (Go Rutgers!). But no matter what, know that I’m looking for you because it’s my personal mission to make Laptop Mag the top-ranking tech site in the world. But I can’t do that without a diverse team of writers. So yeah, I’m here, whether it’s for freelance, a permanent position down the line, or just some advice about the industry, don’t be a stranger.
And to the Laptop Mag faithful, I want to hear from you too. You’ve kept the lights on for 29 years, and with your help, they’ll be on for many more. What do you want to see in terms of coverage? How can we help you make that killer laptop purchase and maximize its usage? I thank you so much for your readership and I’m looking forward to bringing you more of the quality content you’ve come to expect while continuing to evolve and grow. And remember, wherever the tech is, Laptop Mag and I will be there.