'Able to leap tall buildings in a . . . '
| Harold Evans, in “Newsman's English,” sums up the qualities of a good editor this way:
• Human qualities of sympathy, insight, breadth of view, sense of humor and imagination.
• A well-balanced and orderly mind, one suggesting judgment, perspective, and a sense of proportion.
• A cool head. The ability to work in an atmosphere of excitement and hurry without becoming flustered or incapable of accuracy.
• Quickness of thought — coupled with accuracy.
• Keenness, conscientiousness and ruthlessness — rightly used.
• Well-informed common sense that translates into sound judgment.
• The ability to set aside your own feelings and see things from the point of view of the reader — whose representative you are.
• A familiarity with the major laws concerning libel, copyright, invasion of privacy, and contempt.
• Dedication to physical fitness in a trying, sedentary job that takes a toll on the stomach, eyes and nerves.
• Team spirit. Publications, in order to be published regularly, require a dedication to cooperation and collaboration.
'More like a brothel'
| On a lighter note, British journalist Alan Brien:
“A newspaper is not a place to go to see people actually earning a living, though journalists like to pretend they never stop sweating over a hot typewriter.
“It’s much more like a brothel — short, rushed bursts of really rather enjoyable activity interspersed with long, lazy stretches of gossip, boasting, flirtation, drinking, telephoning, strolling about the corridors, sitting on the corners of desks, planning to start everything tomorrow.
“Each of the inmates has a little specialty to please the customers. The highest-paid ones perform only by appointment,the poorest take on everything and anybody. The editors are like madams — soothing, flattering, disciplining their haughty temperamental staff, but rarely obliged to satisfy the clients between the printed sheets.”
— Date unknown; courtesy of The Journal of Michigan Fellows