You may never have met Todd Hoffman, but if you follow Columbus Monthly in print, on our website or via Facebook or Twitter, you’ve heard his voice and seen his ambition and hopes for this magazine.
It remains unbelievable to us, but Todd, our digital editor since 2011, died May 9. He was 37, vital, full of life, always ready with a chuckle. My colleagues and I have tried to wrap our heads around the fact that Todd won’t walk out of the elevator at any moment and take his place at his desk. It does not seem possible.
Todd had an enthusiasm for the digital direction of our industry that too many journalists can’t muster. He saw only potential in platforms that release our stories from the limits of the two-dimensional page and open them to video, sound, interactive graphics and direct dialogue with you, our readers.
Todd knew Columbus Monthly and our audience well—he was the biggest and most important advocate of our website redesign, which we launched in March following months of work. He was at our launch party at The Ivory Room, beaming and taking photos. His pride in our work and our publication was plain to see. And sure enough, there he is at the edge of the frame of a photo taken near the end of the party, when staffers gathered for a giddy photo-booth shot with a snow leopard cub from the Columbus Zoo. We were relieved to be celebrating and proud of the results of much effort.
Editors and writers here know their opinions are not only welcome but needed when we plan the magazine. When we gather around a table to share ideas, everyone is expected to participate. Todd always stepped up to the plate in that regard, speaking up over and over again for our website, finding opportunities to share stories through Facebook and Twitter, fearlessly throwing ideas out to the group. He had the friendliest, most earnest way of reminding us repeatedly that the printed magazine isn’t the only thing we do. When our annual Best of Columbus survey responses broke all expectations and hopes a couple months ago, Todd was positively geeked about it. He relished harnessing the power of social media to reach more of you.
Todd brought all these ideas and enthusiasm to work while remaining quiet, humble and genuine. In short, he was the co-worker you would want on your team every day. We will miss his advocacy and his positivity. Soon, it’ll sink in that he’s not coming back—maybe at our next planning meeting, when we’re tossing around ideas and we realize his voice is missing.