Velvet underground

By Jonathan Black

By Jonathan Black

By far the most interesting and informative session I have attended thus far was “For Editors Only: Rule With an Iron Fist Yet Wear a Velvet Glove,” by Michael Koretzy, a SPJ national board member.

The session focused on five edits, as they were called, a leading editor must implement and enforce in order to successfully guide their staff to success. While I don’t want to go into too much detail about what I learned, I will reveal some advice I’d like to see implemented: staggered deadlines.

At the moment, almost every section editor assigns their deadlines as the day before production begins, leaving little time to tweak an article that may need work or find a backup article in case one falls through. I’d like to see section editors stagger their deadlines so they could receive their articles at separate intervals. This would give more time for the editor to find a backup story, or make the reporter rework a part of their piece.

Not only was this session informative, but the audience was as well. The room was filled with editors-in-chief and managing editors from across the country and it was comforting to see that many of them deal with the same frustrations that Rebecca and I face with our jobs. Even the editor-in-chief of The Daily Tar Heel, the holy grail of collegiate journalism, dealt with similar problems to that Rebecca and I face with The Pendulum.

I cannot wait to try these five edicts out to see if they truly can make a great organization even better.


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