From the Editor: As Time Goes By

How Columbus Monthly staffer Brittany Moseley put together her feature on the Kilbourne Project

Dave Ghose
Columbus Monthly
From left, Aaron Heydinger, Nate Hatfield and Garrett Gandee in front of the Cross House, one of the homes they are restoring in Kilbourne.

Patience isn’t a virtue associated with journalism, but it’s something I’ve had to learn in the magazine business. When you’re working for a monthly publication, it can be a challenge to figure out when to write a major feature on a timely issue, topic or newsmaker. If you do your story too soon, you may miss important developments. Start too late, you’re rehashing old news. 

Often, the best solution is a compromise: Begin reporting early, perhaps with a rough publication target in the far-off future or maybe without even a deadline, and watch the story evolve over time. This often results in a richer piece, built upon months or even years of research and interviews, with plenty of inside access, narrative thrust and sharply drawn characters. 

This issue features a fine example of this kind of journalism. Back in January 2020, Brittany Moseley pitched me on writing about the Kilbourne Project, a group of friends who set out to single-handedly revive a struggling little Delaware County town, buying nearly all the properties in its commercial district. We agreed it would be interesting to follow this unique turnaround tale over the next few months, documenting its progress and challenges. 

Well, a few months extended beyond a year, as unforeseen obstacles—namely, a global health crisis that brought much of the world to a halt—altered plans. But Brittany didn’t give up on the idea. She remained in contact with the folks behind the Kilbourne Project as they attempted to pull off their audacious idea even during a pandemic. That patience paid off, and 20 months after first pitching the idea, Brittany’s story is finally being published (“We Bought a Town”). “In many ways, it’s good that I waited as long as I did, because I was able to get more of a story developed,” Brittany says. 

Brittany’s professional life also changed quite a bit during this period. When she pitched the idea, she was the assistant digital editor for Dispatch Magazines, which includes Columbus Monthly and its sister publications, Columbus CEO, Columbus Alive, Columbus Parent and Columbus Weddings. Then in April 2021—after excelling for two-plus years in her digital role—Brittany accepted a job as the associate editor for Columbus Monthly. 

Crunch Ramp Supremes

If you’re a regular reader of this magazine, then you’re probably familiar with Brittany’s work. While juggling her digital duties, she still managed to write stories for us on a variety of topics, ranging from a profile of Dave Chappelle’s chef, Nikki Steward, to a lovely short tribute to the roller skating group the Crunch Ramp Supremes, which appeared in our Best of Columbus issue in July

With Brittany now working for Columbus Monthly full time, we’re excited to showcase her reporting and writing in these pages more often. Hers should be a fun story to watch evolve over time. 

This story is from the August 2021 issue of Columbus Monthly.