Sports and Journalism: Luke Maye as the Writer, Theo Pinson as the Editor

Luke Maye (center) was the hero, Theo Pinson (right) made it happen.

North Carolina won a great NCAA tournament game yesterday, beating Kentucky 75-73 on Luke Maye’s basket with 0.3 seconds left on the clock. Everyone mobbed Maye, and the news coverage was pretty much all Luke Maye.

Washington Post: It’s Maye Day

New York Daily News: Luke Maye hits game-winning jumper with .3 seconds left

Charlotte Observer: Maye’s shot gives UNC 75-73 win over Kentucky, last spot in Final Four

As an old editor, once a basketball player, I watched everyone surround Maye but wanted to shout that Theo Pinson was just as much the hero. With under 10 seconds left, Kentucky has tied the game at 73-73. Carolina inbounded the ball to Pinson, who drove the length of the court into the heart of the Kentucky defense, drew Kentucky defenders in toward him, and passed the ball out to Maye, wide open for his winning jumper.

That’s what good editors do—try to make it possible for writers to do great things. Find the money, pay the writer for whatever time it takes to do good reporting, help with the story’s clarity and focus, and make sure it’s presented with good art, a strong hed and deck, and pull quotes and picture captions that make the reader want to read the story. Then let the writer have the applause.

Editors do get their day at the National Magazine Awards. At one of the Washingtonian’s wins, I was sitting with the two writers who did the story (“Life and Death on the Fast Track,” winner of the 1987 NMA for reporting). When the Washingtonian was announced as the winner, the two writers got up to walk to the podium. I had to tell them, “Stay here, the editor gets the award.”
A journalist asks why, if the National Magazine Award is for reporting or writing, the writer isn’t allowed to accept the award. The awards are organized and judged by ASME, the American Society of Magazine Editors, and the award goes to the magazine, not to an individual. The magazine’s editor accepts the award and, if he or she doesn’t have ego problems, then singles out and praises the editors and writers who worked together on the winning story.









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