When Air Mail launched 100 issues ago, one thing seemed relatively certain: the millennial generation was going to be a recurring source of comic interest. There was something journalistically irresistible about the assumed fragilities, work-life-balance expectations, and Bushwick sensibilities (avocado toast, artisanal beer, micro-aggressions, tattoos, steampunk beards) of twentysomethings raised by their helicopter parents to expect a prize for accomplishments like getting out of bed.
The joke, as it turned out, was on us. Half the staff of Air Mail is under 30, and none of them come close to the cohort’s stereotype. Julia Vitale, 28, who came via Vanity Fair, isn’t just an editor; she is a petite, Italian-born brainiac who works around the clock, steering the book reviews, culture section, and arts features while simultaneously editing two newsletters, the Wednesday Week in Culture dispatch and the Thursday Book Report.
She also edits some of our favorite writers, including Elena Clavarino, 23, who, like Julia, speaks both English and Italian. (Julia is also fluent in Spanish.) Elena started as an Air Mail assistant, researching blurbs about art and music for AIR, our Arts Intel Report search engine. She has grown into an intrepid, savvy writer. Among other things, she blew the whistle on the reckless and sybaritic underground party scene downtown at the height of the coronavirus restrictions. (But not before dancing on a tabletop or two of her own. Deep cover.)
Half the staff of Air Mail is under 30, and none of them come close to the cohort’s stereotype.
Graydon jokingly refers to Nathan King, age 27, as our Swiss Army Knife. Nathan started as Graydon’s assistant at Vanity Fair, where he was unerringly deft, prescient, charming, and heroically dedicated. Nathan still is all those things, only now he is a deputy editor who does a bit of everything—and does it all exceptionally well. This includes writing, editing, and even replacing the plumbing under the kitchen sink at the Air Mail offices this spring.
Clementine Ford, 26, came to us via Harper’s, on the recommendation of an old Spy-magazine colleague who now works there. She started as a fact-checker and was so relentless at it that she became known as “Buzzkill” because her forensic digging turned up tiny but crucial errors that forced us to remove a number of stories from our lineups. Now she also writes for and edits the “Bests” and has produced several well-reported, witty stories for Air Mail, and probably hasn’t slept since 2019.
Graydon met Roxy Solis, 24, when she was looking after a friend of his youngest daughter’s. He spotted star quality, and she began working as an intern during her final two years of college. She is now on staff and assisting Executive Editor David Foxley with Air Supply, bringing a great eye and savvy to our curated Air Mail online shop. She will be replacing Jenna Kim, 18, who taught herself Photoshop and created a brilliant dashboard for the shop and is heading off for Stanford in the fall. Gasper Tringale-White came to us via his parents, both of whom worked at Vanity Fair. Gasper is a laid-back surfer who actually works like a stevedore. As does Sarah Nechamkin, 24, who joined Air Mail this week as our social-media editor, a job best likened to being an air-traffic controller at O’Hare.
Air Mail would fall apart without Elinor Schneider, 25, who was waiting tables in Connecticut when Graydon recruited her. At the time, she was also in college and working as an editorial intern at a start-up. If you can calmly handle three or four tables of demanding diners, while studying and also working as an intern, you can handle just about anything. Elinor now serves as a sort of assistant managing editor to Chris Garrett, handling everything from story lineups to contracts. She has a twin, and does so much, so cheerfully, that we suspect she secretly brings in her sister to lessen the load.
Madeline Spates, 28, is a marketing and events-planning whiz who is essential to pretty much everything on the business end, including data mining and modeling: she has a cameo on our Instagram vignette about Air Mail Express. Madeline still finds time to serve up story ideas—and margaritas. We heard that she hosted a rooftop party or two for her Air Mail chums at the height of last summer’s lockdown, but we feel certain they wore masks. We do know they answered their Slack messages late into the night.
Alex Oliveira, 27, who has worked as an assistant at Air Mail and showed great flair for reporting stories on the side, will transition to writing for us later this summer. Anna Bradlee, 28, handles communications for Air Mail and tirelessly promotes our best stories while steering us through media interviews and the occasional hiccup of bad press.
When the pandemic hit and the retail business froze, we figured Air Mail would lose some advertisers. We didn’t lose a single one, and that’s in large part thanks to Sales Director Michael Pescuma, 27, who, alongside Emily Davis, our fearless chief marketing officer, stood firm in the storm.
Everyone under 30 at Air Mail works three or more jobs across the spectrum of fact-checking, research, writing, editing, design, social media, data gathering, marketing, and whatnot, and they all do them well, tirelessly, eagerly, and without complaint—or canceling. That’s how we got to the 100th issue of Air Mail on this Saturday and how we get it to you each Saturday.