How Editors Can Make Journalism Better

By Jack Limpert

The best editors are inner-directed by an internal gyroscope, not other-directed-—taking cues from other people. (See The Lonely Crowd, by David Riesman.). Some editors, and many writers, are other-directed and try too hard to impress other journalists.

Fast-thinking—now the driving force in digital journalism—is often wrong. In his book, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman shows there are two ways of thinking: Fast thinking operates automatically and quickly, with little or no effort. Slow thinking gives attention to effortful mental activities and can override the impulses of fast thinking. A good editor can make journalism better by bringing more thoughtfulness, more slow-thinking, to it.

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