Ten things reporters want from their editors / 12 октября 2007 г.

Ten things reporters want from their editors

1) I want you to listen to me. I want your full, undivided attention. I don’t want you staring at your screen, or answering computer messages, or taking phone calls when you’re talking about a story.

2) I want to be able to brainstorm with you, to bounce ideas off you without feeling like you automatically have to pass judgment. I want you to contribute, not dominate.

3) I want you to respect my syntax. I want to feel as though as long as I’m writing clearly and purposefully, the choice of words is up to me. I want to sound like me, not you.

4) I want you to help me improve the integrity of my story. Concentrate on structure, not picky copy-editing. Tell me what ideas or images don’t work and can be improved. Develop a structural vocabulary that can articulate this. Help me bring more context, wisdom and perspective to my work.

5) Don’t rewrite me unless you have to. If we’re not on deadline, tell me what you want me to do differently, send the story back to me and let me try to do it myself.

6) As the reporting process unfolds, let me discover the story. Hold back on prejudging it, or dictating how I should pursue it. Let me explore the landscape and learn from it.

7) Tell me the truth. If a story has been targeted for a certain placement, length or tone by your bosses, tell me what politics are involved, what battles we’ll have to fight, why the story is holding, or why it needs to be cut.

8) Play the role of a reader for me. Make fewer pronouncements and ask more questions — questions that demonstrate your interest and help me understand how certain sentences or combinations trigger certain questions in a reader’s mind.

9) Balance the way I’m used. Remember the proportion of stories I do at your suggestion versus the proportion that are my ideas. Give me opportunities not only to discover the best part of myself, but to use that part when you make assignments. Talk to me, even if it’s only once a year, about what my goals are for next year and for five years from now.

10) Get off your butt and walk around. Feel the newsroom. Be a part of it, of us, the reporters. Don’t be a bureaucrat. Be a leader.

Source: Nuts & Bolts, a Los Angeles Times newsletter dedicated to the proposition that there are only two kinds of journalists: bad ones and those who are improving.

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