Magazine article The Masthead

Set Priorities If You Want to Keep Your Sanity

Magazine article The Masthead

Set Priorities If You Want to Keep Your Sanity

Article excerpt

HOW THE EDITORS who run solo shops do it, I'll never know. Budget their time, that is.

For an 80,000-circulation daily, the staff here is of (just) adequate size: two full-time and one part-time editorial writers, a five-eighths-time copy editor and me. (No cartoonist, but hope springs eternal.)

Even so, it wouldn't be a bed of roses if we weren't seasoned (average career about 20 years) and pretty efficient. We have three editorials each day; also, we cover local and state topics vigorously, and those are the most labor-intensive ones.

The main problem (surprise!) is one of attention-robbing interruptions. Having phone calls held is not an option, not that we want it. We welcome community input. Still, as an example, I have kept track: this short piece was written in eight takes. Getting on and off the train of thought becomes easier with each passing year -- experience and a thick skin count.

As regards outside interviews, we dodge a substantial bullet: We are among the few newspapers that don't endorse political candidates. There's no room here to discuss the pros and cons of that philosophy, but it does mean that a lot of pols feel free to stop in and chat at varied times, instead of homing like vultures in March and September.

Elections aside, there are still plenty of issues and agendas looking for an editorial board ear. We try to grant nearly all. If possible, we set them for a time of day when we normally have our copy in the composing room and are awaiting page proofs. This makes good use of a period when we may be a little too tired to write the freshest prose, but can still handle a decent interview. …

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