Mistakes and missteps

10 dangers when you trim a story

not teaching,still THINKING … Journalists and surgeons have something in common. Trimming a story is like performing delicate surgery. A surgeon wants to leave no evidence of a scalpel or sutures. Journalists, too, aim to trim stories without drawing attention to what has been deleted. But trimming someone else’s copy comes with risks. Writers put […]

6 ways to keep people honest

not teaching,still THINKING … It’s not always easy to know “the right thing” to do, but these tips about honesty can help. They were written from the perspective of editors working with reporters in their all-important relationship. But, realistically, they can apply to just about anyone doing anything in any profession. Educate them. When it […]

5 Ways to Cause Trouble for Yourself

not teaching, still THINKING … Trouble finds us easily enough, but sometimes we cause trouble for ourselves — especially when our personal and professional interests intermingle. Here are five ways we could cause that trouble. Recognize them. Avoid them. Keep your boss in the dark about any conflict of interest, hoping it will go away […]

Wash, rinse, don’t repeat

not teaching, still THINKING … An embarrassingly number of times, the following has happened to me: Go to washing machine, set all of the dials, start water, open lid — only to find not an empty washer, but instead a washer full of clean clothes, already washed, rinsed and spun. And now those clothes are […]

Instant recall is a tricky undertaking

In a visual exercise the other day to demonstrate how editors must be mindful of a variety of issues in a story, I donned two different earrings (usually, I wear none); a pin with three snowmen (it’s September); my jacket backward (on only one arm) and a sock (on my other arm). When students returned […]

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 […]