By Jess Cagle
March 17, 2014 12:00 PM

When I was a kid, the Academy Awards ceremony was an annual event not to be missed, interrupted or disrespected in any way. The show brought Hollywood—this magical, captivating, faraway place that celebrated both movies and the misfits who made them—right into our living room. This year, once again, I cohosted ABC’s Oscar preshow Red Carpet Live with Robin Roberts, Lara Spencer and Tyson Beckford. There’s nothing like being on that carpet on Oscar night. Even though the work isn’t nearly as glamorous as it looks, I still get a rush every time I’m there, realizing that I am in fact living a dream.

I also grew up with PEOPLE, ran to buy it at a convenience store each week and considered it the greatest magazine around. Like the Oscars, PEOPLE brought me face-to-face with the artists I idolized and the most intriguing people on the planet. It also inspired me with stories of noncelebrities changing the world, and as long as I was clutching a copy of PEOPLE, no one and nothing seemed entirely out of reach. Another dream of mine came true a few weeks ago, when I took over as editorial director. The magazine is now just one part of the PEOPLE brand, which includes print and digital offerings (like our tablet edition and enormous website) that are growing and evolving at a sometimes head-spinning pace. But wherever you find it, it is still PEOPLE, and even as we celebrate our 40th anniversary, our subject matter remains true to the words of founding editor Dick Stolley: extraordinary people doing ordinary things; ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

I’m proud to say this is PEOPLE’s biggest Oscar issue in years, and it’s been a thrill to work on it. With this issue, we’re also changing to a heavier, richer paper stock—a sign to our readers and advertisers that we are dedicated to bringing you the world’s best print magazine even as we expand our digital offerings. We want to deliver PEOPLE to you however you want it, and as we grow and evolve, our goal is always to give you more of what you like. I know how much PEOPLE means to you, because it has always meant so much to me.

JESS CAGLE, EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

Follow me on Twitter @MrJessCagle

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