What Editors Can Learn from a Losing Baseball Team

By Jack Limpert

The Washington Nationals, the early season betting favorite to win the World Series, lost any chance of making the playoffs yesterday and this morning the Washington Post’s Barry Svrluga asked, “Manager Matt Williams lost the clubhouse; will he lose his job?”

How does a manager lose the clubhouse? Do editors win or lose newsrooms?

As an editor, I always felt I had two jobs:

Help writers do their best work. Keep an open door. Do plenty of walking around and talking and listening. Help writers find stories that play to their strengths. Be a good reader when they turn in a story—work with them to make it the best it can be. When they do good work, they’ll be happy and you’ll be happy.

Equally important, work smart and hard to make the website or publication a success so writers can be paid well and be given time to do good work.

What did Nationals manager Matt Williams do to lose the clubhouse? The best clue Svrluga offers is: Nats general manager Mike Rizzo “will hear questions not just of strategy, but of the fundamental qualities that hold teams together, questions of communication and trust.”

Communication and trust: Important for writers and editors, too. And when you win the pay gets better.

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