When I interviewed an Albany Times Union Investigative fellow Alysia Santo for my Media and Ethics final project, the main advice she gave me was that I always need an editor. She emphasized multiple times throughout the interview, and she encouraged me to get an internship somewhere I could find a great editor who could help me to improve my writing.
I took her advice, and I got an internship at the Times Union Features Desk in the following semester. It was the best decision I’ve ever made in my college career. Because I got to work in the newsroom with real editors. After interning at the Times Union, I began to understand what Santo meant.
According to “Telling True Stories” Chapter six, the relationship between a reporter and editor is critical in reporting process. Editors guide the reporters and they try their best to point the reporters to the right direction. As I went on the “Editing” chapter, I realized a reporter are not the only one to be good at listening. It is the editor’s job to listen and encourage the reporter to go on their story.
Often, the reporters and editors gets into a conflict in interest. A former Los Angeles Times reporter Sonia Nazario shared her behind story of “Enrique’s Journey” how the first draft with 95,000 words was trimmed down to 25,000.
Before writing her story, Nazario typed all her notes. Next thing she did was “garbaging down” her notes, which helped her to compress the notes to a rough first draft. From the first draft, Nazario’s editor then Rick Meyer removed huge sections of the paper. Between the first and second drafts she had two goals. Reducing the length and focusing relentlessly on the story’s central purpose helped the story to work on the newspaper. Later, Nazario felt she could elaborate more about the story so she published a book on Enrique’s journey addition to her publication on LA Times. With her editor’s direction on top of her amazing reporting, she won a Pulitzer Prize in feature writing.
Jan Winburn and Lisa Pollak talked about editor-writer relationships in depth in this chapter. Winburn was Pollak’s editor, and Pollak said she was lost when her editor assigned her with the antiwar sentiment story. Pollak didn’t know where to start. It was tough for her to find an adequate source at first.
Winburn, the editor, listened every time Pollak came up with updates. Pollak mentioned that Winburn’s encouragement helped her to get through the story.
Their section reminded my relationship with my editors at the Times Union. They are my great mentors and encourager. From the beginning to the end of the story, they walk me through. I strongly believe having a good editor is a huge blessing as a writer.