Editing 101: How to Impress Your New Boss

Laughlin Phillips, who started the Washingtonian in 1965, sold it in 1979 to Philip Merrill, owner of the Annapolis Capital. I had been editing the magazine for 10 years, didn’t know Phil well, and wanted to impress him with my DC connections.

A week later, while having lunch with a writer at Duke Zeibert’s restaurant, I saw lawyer Bob Strauss working the room. Strauss was known for insulting his friends and being helpful to journalists, so I told him I’d soon be having lunch with our new owner—would he come by and insult me?

Phil and I showed up a few days later. Strauss walked over and told Phil, “If you want to improve the magazine, you should get rid of the guy editing it.”

Phil paused, then laughed.

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