Wick Communications

Top 10 reasons to edit

In Editing on 9 Mar 2012 at 9:31 am

We got word that Melinda Welsh is stepping down as editor of the Sacramento News & Review.

 The SNR is a respected alternative weekly in California’s capital city, not unlike our own alt-weeklies in Tucson and Anchorage.

Usually, when the editor splits, the bosses post a rather staid list of qualifications for the job – and I’m sure that happened at the SNR as well. But the staff also put together a list of reasons why you should want to apply for the job. I thought it was excellent because, as noted by the California Newspaper Publishers Association, the list says something about the culture of the place. And understanding the culture at the SNR is really key, I think, for the next editor.

Forget, for a moment, the things that can drag you down on any given workday. What would you say are the best parts of your job? In other words, how would you fill out that top 10 list, at your newspaper? Mine would include some of those very same items – every day is truly different, our office is more a family than a corporate environment, and the ability to reach thousands of readers is important to me. It would also include: …

  • Being part of a proud tradition of American journalists who have embodied the ideals of the First Amendment and open government.
  • Working with talented, courageous, hard-working people who humble me every day.
  • Getting paid to write. There are perhaps millions of Americans who wish they could say that.
  • Creating something new with each edition. How many jobs require as much creativity as ours do?
  • Sparring with powerful people who don’t like to be questioned. Our job can be the only thing that protects the disenfranchised from powerful, monied interests.

I’ll stop, but I could go on and on. Just today I was talking to a former reporter who loves his new job. “But it’s not as good as journalism,” he said. I bet that is true.


  1. Very well said, Clay.

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