Archives for January 2013


Five Ways Editors Are Driven Crazy by Lawyers

By Jack Limpert

1. A lawsuit is a problem you can’t make go away. Almost all problems faced by editors can be dealt with fairly quickly—not necessarily painlessly but they can be dealt with–but a lawsuit can go on about as long as the plaintiff wants it to go on. We’re talking a couple of years.

2. Once a lawsuit is filed, a legal process called discovery begins. They can ask you for answers to interrogatories (written questions), they can ask for documents, they can ask that depositions (oral questioning under oath) be taken of you, the writer, or anyone who might know something.

Becoming an Editor: Maybe It Was Because I Had a Law Degree

By Richard Babcock

I wanted to be a writer because that’s where the glory is, but at the mid-sized newspaper where I started out, I kept getting pushed into editing. I don’t think it was simply because my sentences were unimpressive. Rather, the higher-ups were acting on the dubious logic that because I had a law degree, I must know useful “things”—what sort of things was never quite clear, but reason suggested that I must have learned something useful in that expensive three-year professional education. No amount of argument (or malfeasance) would dissuade the bosses, so I became an editor.

Why Does Someone Become an Editor? Because It’s Too Hard to be a Writer?

By Jack Limpert

I’ve been an editor for almost 50 years and I know lots of editors and I’ve never asked any of them, “Why did you become an editor?”

I became an editor in 1964 not because of any desire to edit copy but because it was the best job offer at the time. After dropping out of law school, I’d spent four years with UPI in Minneapolis, St. Louis, and Detroit and UPI wanted to move me to Chicago. I was being moved too much and wanted to settle down so looked for a job in Detroit. The daily paper in Mt. Clemens, just north of the city, was looking for someone to edit a weekly they owned in Warren, a fast-growing Detroit suburb. The money was decent and I’d be able to report and write and learn to be an editor.