Living in Lebanon: Editor-in-chief of Lebanese magazine visits family in DickinsonBryan Keogh prepared a typical meal served in Lebanon while he was home for Christmas in Dickinson. Lebanese food is one of the things he’s learned to appreciate while living in Beirut, where he works as editor-in-chief of Bold, a Lebanese magazine.
By: Linda Sailer, The Dickinson Press
Bryan Keogh prepared a typical meal served in Lebanon while he was home for Christmas in Dickinson.
Lebanese food is one of the things he’s learned to appreciate while living in Beirut, where he works as editor-in-chief of Bold, a Lebanese magazine.
“Our audience is relative affluent people — bankers, executives of companies,” he said while at home. “I think we also have a lot of young people who are looking for a different magazine, one that is easy to digest and has a good design.”
Keogh has been celebrating the holidays with his parents, Bob and Priscilla Keogh, along with his brothers and sisters and their families.
Priscilla is thrilled to have her family of five children and seven grandchildren (minus one son-inlaw) home for Christmas.
“We are so happy to be together,” she said. “With everyone so far away, the opportunities are few and far between.”
Keogh’s sister, Erin Hanson of Phoenix described Keogh as being humble, despite his accomplishments.
“He’s the last person to tell you what he’s actually accomplished — we have to Google him and find out,” she said.
A graduate of Trinity High School (class of 1997), Keogh’s travels have taken him to jobs in Rome, London and Paris.
“When he was growing up, he was kind of a home-body,” Priscilla said. “I think going away to school inspired him and gave him a different perspective.”
After graduating from the University of Minnesota, he completed an internship with the Chicago Tribune, working in the newspaper’s Washington, D.C., bureau.
He then moved to Rome where he taught English and worked for The American, an English-language monthly magazine.
Returning home for about nine months, Keogh worked as copy editor of The Dickinson Press.
Deciding to pursue a master’s degree, he enrolled at New York University. He graduated with a M.A. degree in journalism and a certificate in business and economics.
His next career move was to Bloomberg — a New York Citybased media organization specializing in financial information. As one of 15,000 employees in 192 locations around the world, Keogh wrote stories about corporate finance, stocks and bonds.
“Bloomberg has always been feisty— not afraid to talk about the powers that paid our salaries,” he said.
He said the subscribers included the millionaires trading stocks and bonds on Wall Street.
Looking for another challenge, Keogh moved to London — still as an employee of Bloomberg. His beat included corporate finance and stories about Europe’s sovereign debt crisis.
“My goal at the end of the day was to write to a pretty literate audience of investment professionals,” he said. “I wrote in simple language as much as possible. I love looking at data, analyzing the data and making a good story.”
Having spent 4 1/2 years with Bloomberg, Keogh felt another need for change. This time, he moved to Paris where he free-lanced.
“It’s a fun city,” he said. “I learned to speak French, although not fluently and I wrote for U.S. publications,” he said. With connections to papers such as the Wall Street Journal, he added, “I never had to pitch stories.”
Keogh credits his landlord with an opportunity to relocate to
“One of his roommates in college was editor for a magazine and he couldn’t find anybody locally with qualifications as deputy editor,” Keogh said.
The idea of learning Arabic and about the Middle East proved fascinating for him.
“I flew to Beirut, met the editor and staff and checked out the Armenian food,” he said. “They offered me a job and I moved in April.”
Keogh said Bold deals with business topics, ranging from technology to lifestyle profiles. The 128-page publication, owned by Mantra Communications, appears in print only in Lebanon. Keogh is working to make it available as an iPad app.
When the magazine’s editor-inchief decided to return to London, Keogh accepted the position. He works with a staff of three people and freelancers. The cost of a magazine is 10,000 Lebanese pounds. Translated to dollars, it’s about $6.66 per issue, he said.
The magazine markets the sale of ads to higher-end consumers. It has a luxury component to it, but its articles include hard-hitting articles related to economic and political issues, he said.
The November issue included articles regarding the crashing Iranian currency, oil and gas potential off Lebanon’s coast, housing loans, the greening of Beirut and 21st century workspaces.
The magazine’s centerpiece was related to a car bomb in Sassine Square, in which terrorists targeted Lebanon’s intelligence chief. The bombing had the consequence of slowing tourism and threatening Lebanon’s economy, Keogh said.
“People started pulling their advertisements — it’s really affected everyone,” he said.
Living in Lebanon
However, Keogh feels safe in Beirut — walking home, enjoying a glass of wine with friends or visiting the beaches.
He said the country’s Internet is terrible, but the food is delicious and the people are generous and friendly.
Beirut is rebuilding after the Lebanese civil war lasting from 1975 to 1990.
“Bombed-out buildings are still there even as the city rebuilds — it has night clubs, beautiful malls and restaurants,” he said.
Beirut is a safe haven for the Maronite Christians within a country having a huge Muslim population. However, Israel is still technically at war with Lebanon, and if he crossed the Lebanese-Israel border, Keogh said he couldn’t return.
The country is located between Israel and Syria.
“Most journalists covering the Syrian war are based in Lebanon,” he said, adding, “The Lebanese like us. Nobody is threatening America.”
Keogh describes the Lebanese experience as a great opportunity to grow professionally, to learn about other cultures and to meet people.
“It’s been fascinating to explore the world,” he said. “Some people never leave their hometown, but I’ve been all over and it’s been a great privilege to be able to do that.”
‘It’s been fascinating to explore the world.’
Bryan Keogh, Bold editor-in-chief