When the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve determined that the Church should publish a magazine especially for its youth and young adults, the question as to who should be assigned the great challenge and overwhelming responsibility of being its managing editor received prime consideration. Recommendations were sought and received from many sources, and numerous capable and devoted individuals were considered.
Elder Jay M. Todd had been on the staff of the Improvement Era since January 1966 and had served as its assistant managing editor since 1969. During these years he proved himself to be a young man of unusual ability and devotion. An eight-hour day or a forty-hour week had no meaning to him. Although he is a devoted husband (he married Janet Cutrer in 1964), the father of two children (Deborah, 2, and Randall, 1), and a member of a bishopric (Capitol Hill Ward, Salt Lake City), many nights, Saturdays, and holidays found him in the Era offices planning, writing, and editing. Much of what the Era has been over the past several years can be attributed to him.
As plans for the new publications developed, those on the inside knew that Brother Todd would be asked to serve in a key position—the only question was with which magazine. The decision finally came. He would be asked to be the managing editor of the New Era. He accepted the assignment and immediately went to work organizing committees, meeting with youth and leaders of youth, dreaming, planning, appointing, training, and directing the activities of staff members; working with writers, photographers, artists, and printers; writing, rewriting, editing; approving layouts, type size and style, photographs and art; and attending to the hundreds of details that the managing editor of a magazine, especially a new magazine, is responsible for. It is a never-ending, tedious, laborious, painstaking, demanding job that Brother Todd has been asked to perform for the Church. This first issue is the greatest testimony that the right man was chosen for the position.