"You’ll never be out of work if you’re thinking creatively."
Alex George '05
As Editor-In-Chief of Popular Mechanics magazine, Alex George ’05 has an insatiable curiosity for the world around him.
“Journalism is a field that rewards you for professing to not understand something,” he said. “In my job, I can access people from JPL or Microsoft or Mercedes Benz, ask the questions I’ve always wanted to ask, and learn some really crazy things,” he said. “You can almost feel your brain expanding; you’re constantly learning something new.”
George remembers fueling his curiosity at Morristown-Beard School, where he took Earth Science and Computer Science with Paul Fisher. “In Mr. Fisher’s class I remember him having an old optical Apple mouse and I asked him if I could take it home and take it apart,” he said. “It was a time when the translucent blue iMacs just came out, Apple was undergoing a revitalization, and I became more interested in tech.”
Mr. Fisher’s influence on George was so profound that he even praised him in his July/August 2019 Popular Mechanics Letter from the Editor as being “brilliant, funny, inspiring, way overqualified…he earns every superlative you can give a teacher.”
At MBS, he also sharpened his skills as a writer and credits English teachers Greg Ryan and Ida Picker with helping him find his voice. “Dr. Mascaro also taught me how to write persuasively and read critically, and that’s exactly what my job entails right now.”
George majored in English at Skidmore College, where he enjoyed a wide array of courses, sampling everything from Japanese anime to astronomy. After graduating, he thought he would follow in his father’s footsteps and pursue a career in law. He worked as a file clerk for a law firm in California, but after “folding boxes” for a year, he decided that journalism would be more rewarding.
He was accepted to the prestigious Colombia University Graduate School of Journalism, where he covered a variety of beats and wrote his thesis on gun culture in New York City. He also began writing for Wired magazine, a publication that he enjoyed from an early age. “I’ve always been interested in how people reacted to new technology; I was drawn to that,” he said.
After freelancing for Wired, Wirecutter, The Wall Street Journal, and SF Weekly, and living paycheck-to-paycheck, he landed a position at Popular Mechanics after applying cold to an ad he saw online. He began as an Associate Editor, pitching story ideas to the Editor In Chief, planning photo shoots, hiring freelancers, and writing for popularmechanics.com. He was later promoted to Technology Editor—covering consumer technology, cars and motorcycles—before being named Editor In Chief in February, 2019.
“Alex has been our guiding voice on technology for four years, and innately understands the craft of a good story, the value of reporting, and how to deliver service to this passionate audience,” said Hearst Magazines President Troy Young.
As he looks to the future, George hopes to use data and metrics to strengthen Popular Mechanics’ connection with their audience. He is also exploring the idea of expanding the magazine’s reach into different media.
“It’s fun to take risks with what you’re doing,” said George, who insists that the best part of his job is “working in an industry that rewards creativity.”
“A great original story idea is strong currency,” he said. “You’ll never be out of work if you’re thinking creatively.”