Find your way with an editor’s credo

By · Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

Today might not be the first day of the spring semester everywhere, but it is here at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School, which brings to mind some thoughts about editors’ credos.

A credo is something that will help you to approach your role as an editor with purpose. It will help you to stay focused when making editing decisions or when confronted with tough choices.

A credo is like a company’s mission statement. It is simple but effective.

We like to think of a credo as a compass to help you find your “true north” and keep you thinking in the right direction. On the job, you might need to balance competing interests and conflicts. Your credo will help you.

The credo you see here was written by Dana Moran when she was a Newhouse student in my advanced editing class. A student in a graphics class designed the credo for her.

Once you have a credo, you will have a good sense of how you think and what makes you comfortable. When you know the credos of others, you will be able to understand them better — just as you understand a company once you know its mission statement.

Read the credos of other editing students and our own credos in Strategy 1 of “Think Like an Editor.”

Editors at all levels should have a credo. What’s yours?

Steve Davis


My job, as an editor, is to recognize and free a strong story from a morass of redundancy, poor organization, echo quotes, and unnecessary adverbs and adjectives.