What does it take to be a great section editor?
There’s nothing better than a great editor who values staff work and pushes a section to excellence. Editors’ work with writers for their sections (print or web) should be vibrant, helpful, active, and full of JOURNALOVE.
1. I VALUE the writers, photographers, and designers working for my section.
2. I EDIT R1s & R2s for my section on time and leave line-by-line, detailed comments in their drafts.
3. I am NOT DISCONNECTED or UNAWARE of my writers’ progress. I help find interviews, answers, websites, and/or new angles.
4. I MANAGE my writers’ Story Share procedures.
5. I ENCOURAGE my writers and SHOW GRATITUDE for their efforts. I don’t just point out what needs to change; I also tell them what I loved.
6. I LEAD my writers to great performances as writers, reporters, and project managers.
1. Edit stories using GOOGLE SUGGESTIONS. 2. Communicate daily with "Hi, Goodbye, Howzit," etc. Better... have full conversations with them. 3. Make story comments in red BY DEADLINE in their stories. 4. Make red comments that are meaningful and LONG. Do not generalize briefly with “good job!” etc. 5. Understand writers’ lives outside of journalism. Know what other issues they are facing. 6. Always notify a writer if you have to make a change to their writing. Courtesy! 7. Find at least ONE way you can contribute to a writer’s assignment (a list, a phone#, the ASF, etc.). 8. Lead by example by making all of your deadlines (your editor deadlines and your own story deadlines). 9. Be available and approachable to work with your writers during class. 10. If you don’t like something, tell the writer WHY. Unexplained NO is a put-off. 11. Help Mount & leaders recognize the outstanding work of your writers with a quick heads-up.
NYT OpEd Columnist and reporter
A great editor is like a great meatloaf. By which I mean: There is a multitude of kinds, and all get the job done, deploying different recipes for the same result, which is your nourishment. A great editor revels in your best moments often enough to soften the mentions of your worst ones. A great editor knows when to push you a little harder and when that will only sow frustration. A great editor makes you feel safe and supported enough to take chances, but pipes up when you’re taking a truly stupid one. A great editor tells you to get to the point faster, because most of us don’t get to the point fast enough.
NYT Business columnist and reporter