6 ways to manage the dreaded approval process

A few suggestions on how editors can meet publication deadlines.

I once had a boss who eyeballed our small, overworked/underpaid communications staff and offered this threatening proclamation: We’re going to get this publication out on time no matter how long it takes!

We nodded our brain-numbed agreement and trudged back to our keyboards to punch out another story or two before day’s end.

If you come from a journalism background, the thought that you wouldn’t meet a deadline is horrific, the kind of stuff that wakes you up at night. Even in the midst of the century’s greatest snowfall last winter, our city’s daily newspaper was printed and delivered on time. In the corporate world, I sometimes wonder if even death and taxes are certain.

A friend who left a daily newspaper for corporate communications used to say: “There are only four things you need to do to get a publication out: Write. Design. Proof. Print. How can they mess it up?”

Of course, she didn’t count on that fifth, often fatal step: Approve.

For years, I used to think I was the only one who hurdled the approval abyss with each article and publication. But I’ve learned that the pitfalls of getting copy approved to meet deadlines are universal, not unique.

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