8 ways that editors can grab power (and keep it)

This 1961 column from Larry Ragan remains as true today as it did all of those decades ago.

In 1961, Larry Ragan wrote a column entitled, “How an editor can be more useful to his company—or eight Machiavellian ways to grab power.” Other than his use of the masculine personal pronoun to represent all editors, we would change very little in our founder’s column. His eight rules remain as true today as they did all of those decades ago—ed.

Rule No. 1: Never ask approval of a story from a superior unless it is required of you. The principle is obvious. Every time you seek an OK when there has been no advance understanding that you should do so, you diminish, however subtlely, the power you have.

Rule No. 2: Seldom ask for advice; never ask it of more than one person at the same time. If you ask a superior for advice, say, on how to brighten up your layout, you are sure to get all sorts of answers, most of them foolish. Ask a committee formed for that purpose and you multiply your chances of getting advice that is not only foolish, but contradictory.

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