The Life of an Editor: What’s Left to be Remembered?

On the last page of Ward Just’s newest novel, The Eastern Shore, the main character, Ned Ayres, a newspaper editor, is retired to a big house on Maryland’s Eastern shore. He’s been trying to write a book about his life in journalism. He had edited important newspapers in Chicago and Washington and had saved boxes of  papers and a diary. But at the end he realized there’d be no book. What, after all, does an editor do all day?

Naturally there were no examples of his own work, the cutting and fitting, the word changes. Editing was as invisible as the work of a careful tailor. No one outside the newsroom could say, Nice edit, because readers never saw the edit. They saw the results of the edit. The edit was the live heart beating against the skin, essential yet concealed, crafted to endure. It was the mirror of the sea.

Comments

  1. We see the results of the absence of editing, though.

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