Author Archive

Think twice about a thankless job

Thankless jobs. Have one? This question came to me today as I was leaving what I’ll generically describe as a lawn mower retail and service store. I was there on a mission to pick up newly sharpened lawn mower blades. They were not ready, so I chose to wait while they were sharpened — about […]

Hard worker? No thank you

Perfection. Attainable? Desirable? It depends. Consider the following perspectives. Then see what you think. No one’s perfect. True enough. When we use this standard to assess others, we can safely overlook reasonable shortcomings in favor of realistic expectations. But when we use this phrase to explain away our own inadequacies, we risk being perceived as […]

Don’t look at me — it’s on you, now

A relationship with benefits. That’s how we used to define the mutually attractive agreement between reporters and editors. A reporter would tell a source: “I have to ask this question. My editor will want to know.” And an editor was happy to be blamed because, in all likelihood, the question was a legitimate one that […]

Fewer editors in 2020? Not likely

I recently read about an internal report at The New York Times that maps its plan “to accelerate the (digital) transformation while maintaining a commitment to high-quality journalism.” Not surprisingly, the headline on its own coverage states: “New York Times Study Calls for Rapid Change in Newsroom.” Haven’t we been experiencing rapid change for some […]

You can try, but you won’t succeed

Just finished folding a set of sheets, including the dreaded fitted sheet. Actually, folding sheets was an exercise for students during one of their editing classes at the end of last semester. Two students were given a flat sheet. Two students were given a fitted sheet. Their instructions were simple. The two students with the […]

Be a cautious skeptic — especially now

Look no further than the rash of stories about creepy clown sightings around the country to understand how important it is to be a healthy skeptic. The topic of healthy skepticism is timely, with good reason. Journalists get paid to ask questions, and the aim has always been to ask the right questions to get […]