Martin Holladay, Green Building Advisor’s senior editor and one of the website’s original developers, is now its editor.
The announcement came from Rob Yagid, the editorial director at Fine Homebuilding magazine, who oversees the website for its Newtown, Conn., corporate parent, The Taunton Press.
“For the past several years Martin has exceeded the duties of his role as a senior editor,” Yagid said in a memo to Taunton managers. “Martin runs all day-to-day operations of the site, monitors its technology issues, and manages all contributing editors and writers. He has been methodic when it comes to his editorial management duties and his own content contributions. Martin is among the most respected journalists in the field of green building and a promotion to editor is long overdue.”
The 62-year-old Holladay, who lives in an off-the-grid house he built in northern Vermont, was among a small group of editors from Taunton and its then-partner Building Green who developed Green Building Advisor. The site launched in January 2009, just as interest in high-performance building and sustainable design was moving from niche status into the mainstream.
The staff that Holladay now manages has remained small, and Holladay said that with the exception of some potential budget responsibilities, his duties won’t change much.
“I love being a writer and editor,” he said. “That’s always been my focus.”
His weekly blog at GBA, “Musings of an Energy Nerd,” is one of the website’s most popular fixtures, and Holladay is typically a daily contributor to the site’s Question & Answer forum.
In the trades, then an editor
Holladay has worked as an editor since 1999, when he joined the staff of The Journal of Light Construction. In early 2002, he became editor of the newsletter Energy Design Update, where he worked until moving over to the embryonic Green Building Advisor in November 2008, two months before it launched.
Earlier, Holladay worked as a roofer, for a plumbing wholesaler in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, and as a carpenter. Later, he became a project manager for the Northern Community Housing Corporation, a non-profit developer of affordable housing in St. Johnsbury.
He said by phone that he doesn’t see major changes for GBA: “More of the same, I hope. I think we have a very lively and satisfied community that visits regularly for up-to-date information. I’m very proud of our question-and-answer department. We get a lot of input from readers all over the U.S. and Canada. Members of the community help each other, and when one of us has a gap in our knowledge, there’s almost always somebody who steps up and answers questions that others can’t answer.”
It’s a challenging time for publishers, with magazine revenues off and an overwhelming number of websites vying for the attention of digital readers.
“Those of us who are dedicated to journalism sometimes find it hard to make a living — that is, to find people who are willing to support our work — because the internet has a lot of volunteer bloggers,” Holladay said. “As an editor, though, I still believe in the value of editing. You might see 10 free blogs that are posted on the web, but readers still need a knowledgeable editor to separate the wheat from the chaff. A good editor presents verified information, so readers don’t need to scratch their heads every day and wonder, ‘I wonder if that’s right?’ “
He said he was especially proud that GBA comments don’t exhibit much bickering or rancor — what he called “the curse of the internet and the death of forums.”
“I’m not sure why that’s true,” he said. “I don’t have to do a lot of moderation. I think it just speaks well to the type of people who have gravitated to GBA.”
Yagid added that both Green Building Advisor and Fine Homebuilding look forward to growth.
“Over the past couple of years, we’ve increased nearly every performance metric used to measure the health of our brands,” he said in an email. “That’s been the result of relentless focus on the customer and staying true to our values while embracing the opportunities of a new media landscape.”