Clear, detailed instructions are the perfect cure for an editor’s aching head
With some publications, the buck never quite stops. It is a moving target, darting up and down the chain of command.
The CEOs don’t like the story because it didn’t include what they wanted, or just plain missed the mark. The vice presidents blame the editors, chastising them for letting that kind of copy through, even though they read the story twice themselves and did nothing to fix it. An overly ambitious vice president wrongly concludes that future stories need many more paragraphs filled with incomprehensible corporate spew.
For their part, the editors blame the writers, wondering aloud why they failed to deliver what the editors were looking for. The blame hits the writers and promptly bounces back up, with a complaint that the editors and all those damned approvers never clearly said what they wanted. If they didn’t like the story when they read it, why didn’t they say something?
Good editors stop all this nonsense and take responsibility. It is, after all, the editor’s duty to make the story come out right. And if it isn’t the editor’s responsibility, it should be.