Town Resident Eileen Murphy Becomes Editor of ‘New Canaan • Darien + Rowayton’ Magazine


Eileen Murphy. Credit: Michael Dinan

Two things drove Eileen Murphy, reluctantly, out of the magazine world 16 years ago.

A Long Island native and media communications major with a specialization in journalism at Fordham University’s Lincoln Center campus, Murphy had entered the workforce in 1997. Within a few years, she found her niche in a job that she loved at ‘Power & Motoryacht’ magazine, going from someone who knew nothing about boats to getting her U.S. Coast Guard captain’s license.

In June of 2008, she left the magazine to give birth to her older daughter—now a sophomore at New Canaan High School. The idea of doing her old job began to feel unrealistic.

“I was off on boats a lot, and I was pregnant and jumping on and off boats,” Murphy recalled on a recent morning from the café at New Canaan Library. “There was a lot of hands-on stuff. It was great, and fun, but it’s not necessarily perfect for family life.”

The second major reason for stepping away from her journalism career was that her husband, Chris, trades Asian markets, “so he works at night,” Murphy said.

“We tried to sort out how I was going to keep doing what I was doing, and unfortunately the timing of all of it didn’t work out, so I had to leave, which I really hated to do,” she recalled. “I loved my job, I loved my boss, I loved the magazine. I loved all of it. The work. I do love the work. And so I’ve missed it terribly.”

She didn’t want to leave.

“We tried to negotiate a part-time thing where I could keep doing it,” Murphy recalled. “But ultimately when I looked at it, it was like, OK, I’m really actually just doing my same [full-time] job.”

Years later, she came very close to joining her former boss on a new venture, but that project never got off the ground.

A mom of three (the NCHS sophomore, a sixth-grader at Saxe Middle School and fourth-grader at East School), Murphy put her educational and professional expertise to use on behalf of the school community, putting together the newsletters for Saxe Middle School PTC and New Canaan High School PFA as well as the East School yearbook.

“This will be my ninth year of doing the yearbook,” Murphy said. “And I love it. That’s my favorite one. My favorite volunteer job of all of them.”

‘I Love the Project of Creating a Magazine’

Murphy ramped up her freelance writing and was readying to go back to full-time work again when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, “and everything kind of shut down.”

She still couldn’t go back to a job like the boating magazine, which involved significant travel and working out of a New York City office. But last year she did start seeing an opening for an editor at the Moffly Stamford magazine.

“I’ve known the Moffly magazines for years, obviously, living here,” she said. “You’re very familiar with them, and I was a reader of New Canaan-Darien, and they kept putting out the Stamford one [job posting], and I thought, ‘Gosh, I guess this is what they’re looking for, is my resume, except that I don’t live in Stamford.’ And knowing Moffly magazines, I know you really need to be part of the community in order to do the job. I kept seeing it, and I thought maybe I should just reach out to them and see if they’re looking for an interim person.”

She did, and they invited her to talk. Turned out that the editor of ‘New Canaan • Darien + Rowayton’ magazine had just given notice.

It was September 2023, and Murphy joined the team at the magazine, working in under now-former editor Julee Kaplan, helping out with the January-February issue.

“I love it,” Murphy said. “As I said to them when I interviewed for the job, I’m the reader. It’s a very easy transition for me.”

And she’s already making her mark. The March-April issue on stands now (subscribe here) is built around real estate, with a year in review, look at what’s hot, market trends, landscaping and tips for buyers and sellers, as well as spotlights on a local food blogger and a local author, and a beautifully written feature by Murphy herself on a favorite local nonprofit organization: Filling in the Blanks.

“I love the project of creating a magazine,” she said. “I love taking all of the pieces of the puzzle together, and the stories, and doing the interviews and hearing the stories, telling the stories, and then I love putting the actual puzzle together of creating a print magazine.”

The role as editor of the magazine also is prompting Murphy to explore areas of lower Fairfield County beyond New Canaan itself, which she already knows intimately. The magazine does have writers and contributors embedded in Darien and Rowayton, she noted.

“We have writers from both communities and they’re amazing and they are in the same situation I am, where they’re ultimately the reader, so they know what stories people want to hear,” Murphy said. “One of our writers, Elizabeth Hole, lives in Darien and she’s always telling me stories about the people who live there and the organizations. And then we just follow up and we find the right spot to cover them.”

Murphy herself has embarked on a project of familiarizing herself with the communities of Darien and Rowayton in a new way.

“I’m trying to spend more time exploring Darien and Rowayton, which is great, because your daily schedule keeps you in your community,” Murphy said. “I get to branch out a little bit. And before I started this, I hadn’t been over to Darien Commons. I didn’t even know what that was. It’s ten minutes away from us. It’s this huge development where they have retail, and then they have another development on the Post Road. I had no idea this was happening. And I live ten minutes away. I just find that really interesting, so now trying to immerse myself in that community. I was really operating within New Canaan, and it’s nice to branch out and find out more about these other two communities.”

‘This Is Happening for a Lot of Women’

In important ways, re-entering the workforce through ‘New Canaan • Darien + Rowayton’ magazine has surpassed what Murphy anticipated in picking up her journalism career.

She had thought the re-entry would be through freelance writing, with the idea of eventually going back to full-time magazine production.

“I didn’t think that was going to be for a long time, because that’s the really time-consuming part,” she said. “And I thought that when I did go back, I had low expectations. I didn’t think that I was going to walk into a national magazine and they were going to give me a group managing editor job. So I was a little bit nervous about what that meant and where I would wind up. Was I starting all over again? Would I go back directly into the yachting industry just because that’s what I knew, and that’s where people knew my name? Could I go to a different publication? So it was all very up in the air. I did not have high expectations and then this ended up happening at the right time. I feel like it was probably meant to be. And so now I can actually transition back into all of the aspects of the job that I loved.”

Murphy said she talks to many women in her own demographic who are facing a similar change with respect to re-launching pre-family careers.

“This change and ‘going back’ [to work]—I feel like in our age group, this is happening for a lot of women,” she said. “And the thing that keeps coming up—and someday I’m going to do an article about this—is the word ‘pivot.’ I keep hearing this word that they want to pivot. And I did just a little Instagram piece about Little Plucky, which is a home design store on Elm Street. And it’s these two women, with these two very different backgrounds. And one had been in the museum world and the other one, I think, was a teacher and post-COVID I think they were at the right age. They were just looking to do something else. So they have beautiful paintings from local artists. One of them started taking classes at Silvermine, pottery classes. And she got really into that. And, so there’s local artists from that media there. Colleen Prostor is also a great example. The fact that she was like, ‘In fact finance isn’t really going to work with my lifestyle, and the kids, and the schedule, and all of that.’ And then she winds up at New Canaan CARES and they’re incredibly fortunate to have her.”

It’s something that’s happening with many people in New Canaan, Murphy said.

“And I think we probably all feel very fortunate that we were able to make the choice, absolutely, to stay home and raise our kids,” Murphy said. “Our husbands are working and we’re able to do that, but after a certain time, as you said, I went to college for this, I trained for this, and I want to go back. I feel like that’s the theme that I keep finding as I’m going out there and people are hearing that I went back.”

‘I Love It’

Murphy said that the job with Moffly Media offers welcome flexibility.

Her youngest is “pretty self-sufficient,” she said, adding, “I’m in the community.”

“It’s not as if I’m getting a phone call from East school that she’s got to go home because she’s sick and I have to get on a train and come from New York,” Murphy said. “I still have that flexibility.”

She also is at a point with her family that she doesn’t need to be home all day long.

“I’m not at this stage where I’m dropping off for preschool and picking up two hours later,” she said. “I’m not like that anymore. I have more time during the day. And the itch was getting stronger.”

She added, “It’s a great change. I love it.”

Asked how she describes the magazine to people, Murphy said, “We try to talk about the people who live here, what they do, the businesses, the nonprofits. It’s really very focused. Each magazine is very focused on their location. There’s some stuff that we’ll share because it is appropriate to all of the readers, but Greenwich really operates independently with the print publication. So does Westport.”

Moffly Media also has a digital team that manages the online, and editors contribute to it.

Asked what is her vision for ‘New Canaan • Darien + Rowayton’ magazine, Murphy said, “I think just to continue telling the stories of the people who live here. And both from the business side of things—because there are amazing business people who live here—but also the nonprofit side of things. And having volunteered in this town for so long, the quality of the volunteers that we have—the ability, and the background that they have—is amazing to me. I always love hearing about that and as somebody who was a reader and is now the editor, I want to continue telling those stories and finding those people.”

13 thoughts on “Town Resident Eileen Murphy Becomes Editor of ‘New Canaan • Darien + Rowayton’ Magazine

  1. Congrats Eileen! Well deserved and perfect position for you. You are already making an impact and it’s refreshing to see this pivot!

  2. Eileen is a bright star in our community. I’m certain she will soar in her new venture. As a reader, it will be a great opportunity to be part of this new adventure! Congratulations!

  3. What a great article! It’s fantastic how it celebrates your path as it changes based on your life priorities. The magazine is lucky to have you.

  4. Eileen:

    You’re great addition to the Moffly Media team with your talents, enthusiasm and knowledge of both magazines and your community. Welcome aboard!
    Donna Moffly

  5. What a natural fit with your career background and all you do for our community- they are so lucky to have you EIleen and I am soooo happy for you!! Congrats my friend!

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