Many web and print editors prefer to live in an ivory tower and put barriers up to protect themselves.
This can involve:
Editing is a busy and time-pressured job and it does need some uninterrupted time to draft lengthy articles, closely proof read material and attend meetings but, as a general policy, isolation is self-defeating.
My approach to editing has always been to have an ‘open door’ policy. Working with international contributors especially you find that certain nationalities simply ignore emails and will only respond if you speak with them and they can freely speak with you.
Then there are the staff, especially the more senior ones, who have found you a scoop and want a one-to-one discussion, even though it will add nothing to the story. They just feel they deserve an appreciative thank you. And why not!
The other growing practice is the failure to respond to an email. Just the briefest of acknowledgments ‘thanks Joe’ is better than no reply at all. Maybe I am just old fashioned, but I take it as a basic courtesy to respond quickly and rudeness if you receive none. It’s all the more important with emails as they don’t always reach their destination and can get rejected by an over zealous firewall.
The downside of cultivating relationships with contributors is that there is a significant time penalty. You also need the patience of a saint as you politely have to sound interested at a time when pressures are mounting to deliver content on time. But this level of commitment is a price well worth paying.
The last few days to book a place on my Edinburgh web writing, editing and usability workshop on Wednesday 24 October. It promises to be a really interesting day.
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