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What do editors look for when hiring editors?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Write-brained, Apr 10, 2008.

  1. I'm not looking to become an editor right now, but I've been wondering about this while thinking back on former and current editors.

    There seemed to be very few common denominators:

    As many had an eye for the written word as those who didn't. Very, very few could make a decision quickly. Many were personable, but more had little personality. Most were seasoned veterans, but not all. Very few were even among the best reporter/writer in the newsroom.

    The only common trait 99 percent of them shared was a penchant for kissing up and not questioning decisions that come down from the top.

    What do you think? And I'd sure like to hear from editors who've hired editors.

    Maybe I'm a little biased, but I don't think I'm too off base. A lot of senior editors sure like to hire people who kiss their ass.
  2. jfs1000

    jfs1000 Member

    Little harsh.

    I think editors are more political because unlike writers who a lot of time work from home and off hours, these guys have an office politic to navigate. Also, we are always questioning uthority while doing our job. Our editors are supposed to keep us grounded and on the ball.

    What's the saying? Those that can't do, edit?

    LOL, just kidding guys.
  3. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    I don't know if I'd put it that high, but it's pretty bad.
  4. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    You guys are so jaded. ;)
    Past working relationship -- at some level -- is No. 1.
  5. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    You all are crazy ... damn, I'm outta chapstick.
  6. EE94

    EE94 Guest

    this shit drives me fucking crazy.
    Good editors take more shit from above then any writer would, or realizes.

    Most editors bust their ass to dilute the bullshit that often comes from upper management.

    Do you know how many times some UM type will try to direct coverage?

    The UM types are generally business types that wouldn't know a story from a hole in the wall, but they're also mostly Type-A personalities that don't respond to "No, that's a stupid idea."

    Good editors spend a lot of energy reworking such suggestions into somethign plausible and selling it back to Type-A so he doesn't "lose face"

    (Imagine the dynamic of you, Joe Reporter - in the "superior" role, asking a PR person (in the editor role) for somethign and being told that's a fucking stupid idea and no, PR guy won't do that. How are you going to respond?)

    As romantic as it is to lower staff to imagine themselves telling "the man" to shove it up their ass, it just doesn't work that way.

    One day you'll grow up and realize that.
  7. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    Let me get this straight, EE: You don't believe there are vastly more suckups in such roles than there used to be?
  8. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    There are plenty who aren't fawning suckups but who simply accept whatever their boss says without argument.

    Many times I have seen the big bossman wonder how the hell something happened and the SE says that's what you wanted.
  9. EE94

    EE94 Guest

    I doubt the ratio of suckups to strong editors has changed much, and perhaps because I've worked at large organizations most of my career I've seen a better quality of editor.

    being an editor, I'd like to think I'm not a suckup.

    But I know which battles to fight and which to surrender.

    I think that makes me pragmatic, and experienced.

    Those battles I do surrender, I make sure the staff that must carry out the orders know my feelings on it and I take the time to explain why its necessary.

    It doesn't always make the staff happy, but I think it helps them understand a modern work environment.
  10. forever_town

    forever_town Active Member

    If my publisher walked in and told me I could hire an AME or a news editor, after I picked myself up off the floor and after I questioned his sudden change of tune, what I'd look for is someone who can think independently, someone who isn't afraid to suggest ways of improving what we do, someone who isn't afraid to tell me I'm wrong, and someone who's a team player.

    In short, the same things I look for in a reporter, only someone with better people management skills than a fresh out of college reporter.
  11. pallister

    pallister Guest

    I think the problem is the "modern work environment."
  12. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    The management playbook on that would be to act as if the idea you don't agree with but are instituting anyway is your own and not to pass the buck.
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