Editing with an iron fist

Speaker: Michael Koretzky

From the speaker who brought us Chicken Salad, comes RULING WITH AN IRON FIST. An action packed session complete with interactive power point and combat boots.

Five Rules of ruling well:

-“Some must die so others can live”
You must sacrifice some papers so that others will be better.

-Fire people

-Publish crap as long as it gets better and better

-Over throw the old order – try new things, don’t ever say ‘we don’t do things that way.’

-Embrace your impatience:
Never send in a story all at once, always ask for lede and nut grafs from reporters.
Never go against your word – if you say you are going to do something, do it. No exceptions.
Keep meetings short: set an egg timer if you have to.
Set early deadlines and enforce them.

My Take:
While I am not sure if I agree with everything he said, a lot if it was insightful. For example, I would never purposefully ax a paper so that others would “be better” or appear better. Some weeks are better than others and over time the paper will get much better. Michael kept mentioning the ultimatum: Would you rather your paper be stagnant or would you rather it continue to get better? Obviously I want the paper to get better continually but not at the risk that editions suffer.

He also kept mentioning to have fun with the paper. This is something I feel we could use more of at The Pendulum. We could definitely do a lot more with design and I definitely hope we do in the next few years.

Stand firm: I completely agree with him on this, an editor needs to stand by what he or she says no matter what. Other wise he or she is seen as inconsistent and weak by the staff.

Over all the presentation was comical and enjoyable. Michael dressed in combat boots and had a strong presentation. His information also made me think. I was either for his suggestions or completely against them.



One thought on “Editing with an iron fist

  1. Sam:

    One of my students found this post and pointed me to it. You might not be checking comments to a three-month-old post, but what the hell…

    I’m the presenter you wrote about. And you dare to question my advice? Well, good for you.

    What I love about journalism is its dearth of certainty. My brother works for Citrix writing iPhone and iPad apps. There’s only one way to write that code. It either works or it doesn’t.

    The way you run your student newspaper can vary wildly, as long as it follows professional and ethical standards. The advice I gave is right for some, not for others. But I want to make sure student journalists are aware of the breadth of the options available to them.

    You made your choices. I applaud you for it. Keep on keeping on.

    Michael Koretzky
    volunteer adviser, University Press
    Florida Atlantic University
    777 Glades Road
    UC Room 214
    Boca Raton, FL 33431

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