Convener: Karen Testa, news editor, AP Boston


  • David Offer, Kennebec (Maine) Journal
  • Harry Whitin, Worcester (Mass) Telegram & Gazette
  • Judy Kessler, Sybase
  • Chelsea Conaboy, UNH
  • Rochelle Stewart, UNH


Our discussion was wide in scope and involved some great advice from David and Harry, editing veterans who have seen some very good – and bad – editors in their time. The students also made rich contributions.

Here’s a few pearls of wisdom I took away from our talk:

  1. Make it clear you’re rejecting the story, not the person.
  2. Establish a climate of excellence, including setting standards and holding people accountable to those standards. Demand accuracy.
  3. Clear the crap, ie, try to free up key people from tasks that can be delegated so they can focus their energies where they are most needed.
  4. Set story expectations before writing begins.
  5. Understand that no one will write the story exactly the same way you would.
  6. If you’re not getting regular feedback, seek it out (for editors and reporters).
  7. Be excited and bring excitement to the newsroom. We have great jobs.

David made this observation that I thought was particular poignant, and a good message for all of us in the business:

“If you’re good enough to succeed at newspaper work or AP work, you’re probably good enough to make a lot more money doing something else for a lot less work. … So you’re doing it because it is the most wonderful way to live.”

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