Bill Elson’s Thinking Like an Editor session: CMA 2010

I attended the “Thinking Like an Editor” session here at the CMA Conference and had no idea what to expect. Honestly, I was intending to go to a different talk but accidentally sat down in the wrong room.

Good thing I did.  Speaker Bill Elson, retired from the Washington Post, talked about a lot of things I’ve already heard – convergence, multimedia, online presence – but other things were what I had never been told to do before – send my minor staff problems to the managing editor (thanks Anna!), stay on the case of my reporters and (this is the best one…) never, ever, ever forget the basics of journalism. That last one I had been told, but it’s helpful to be reminded.

Elson also gave a lot of tips that I appreciated, because the Pendulum is already doing some of them. He mentioned budget meetings, staff retreats and being able to shoot, write, edit and blog. Hey, I’m doing some of that right now. In a hotel room with three other blogger/journalists (how geeky!)

But, what stuck with me the most was the emphasis he made on getting your team to work together, especially those who “screw up the process.”

I know how difficult it can be to work around someone who’s dropped the ball, or has lost the ball and suddenly found it at deadline, or someone who has the ball and simply will not turn the ball back over to you. Or has deflated the ball. You see where this analogy is going.

But, thanks to the notes I took, and I took extensive notes that aren’t truly pertinent to post all on this blog, have given me so many great ideas to become a better editor, someone that people will come to with problems before they become disasters. Or before a ball deflates, or is lost or…

I’m quitting that analogy now.

-Lauren Ramsdell


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