Editing a Daily, Weekly, or Monthly: Which is Easiest?

By Jack Limpert

Ron Charles, fiction editor in the Washington Post’s book section, once sent out this tweet: “Editor friend tells me a daily section is easier than a weekly section because you can’t lie awake *every* night, but you can once a week.”

I sent his tweet on to Richard Babcock, an editor who spent years editing at weekly—New York—and a monthly—Chicago—with some daily newspaper experience thrown in. Here was his reaction:

“I’ve lain awake at all three frequencies, but I really do think the psychologically easiest pace is the daily, and it gets harder from there. Distraction is the greatest sedative. At a daily, the press of the news keeps you moving forward. A weekly’s pace is pretty frantic, too. I love monthlies, because they offer the long-form narrative that’s my favorite nonfiction, but for the editor they also provide long-form anxiety. Plus, if you’ve published a flop, it glares out at you from newsstands for the next 30 days.”

After working at a wire service, weekly papers, and a monthly magazine, I found the weekly pace the most satisfying, though monthlies do give you more opportunity to do great stories, the ones that will be remembered for years, not just for a day or two.

For us slow thinkers who don’t do well at grind-it-out-fast journalism, either can let you do good work and get some sleep.

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