Depending partly on your age and partly on what corner of the communication world you occupy, this announcement will either mean something to you because you've known about Vital Speeches forever (the first issue came out in 1934), or nothing to you at all because you've never heard of it.
As a speechwriter said in response to a recent branding query, "Vital Speeches of the Day is our most esteemed chronicle of modern oratory. Of course, we speechwriters honor it as a standard of achievement, but it also commands the attention and respect of scholars. ... The fact that I have been published in it impresses even an Ivy Leaguer."
But like so many other legendary publications, Vital Speeches has lost some currency in the age of the Internet. Unlike those publications, Vital Speeches retains its main proposition: It is still the only reliable collector of the best and most important speeches in the U.S. and the world. And though it has a sister publication called Vital Speeches International (which I'll also oversee), it has taken no detour from its original mission:
The publisher of Vital Speeches believes that the important addresses of the recognized leaders of public opinion constitute the best expression of contemporary thought in America, and that it is extremely important for the welfare of the nation that these speeches be permanently recorded and disseminated. The publisher has no axe to grind. Vital Speeches will be found authentic and constructive.
As editor, I'm determined to see that Vital Speeches once again matters to more than just the veteran speechwriters, professional speakers, Baby Boomer-and-older business executives and thousands of librarians that subscribe to it—but to everyone who cares about what leaders are saying and how they are saying it.
But we're not running commercials during Dancing with the Stars. So it'll take a little time. We're establishing a broad online presence to surround our main online platform, VSOTD.com. (And, to surround you.)
I'd sure love for Writing Boots readers to be among the first to join the Vital Speeches group on LinkedIn, subscribe to the Vital Speeches YouTube channel of historical and contemporary speeches, become a fan of our Facebook page ... and, yes, follow us on Twitter (I told you I was determined, didn't I?).
I also need you to send me any speech you write that you're proud of, any speech you read that moves you. The Vital Speeches address is vseditor at mcmurry dot com. I want the magazine to continue being a publication of record that it's been for 75 years; but I want it to ooze with juicy speeches on all kinds of topics.
As I embark on the job, I ask myself: Murray, you're interested in a lot of different things—so why do you pour this much of your energy into communication?
Because once every few decades or so, the dang stuff actually does what it's supposed to do. And if I ever doubt that, I'll just switch over to Vital Speeches' YouTube channel and I watch this: