“Who Are the Three Editors You’d Most Like to Have Dinner With?”

By Jack Limpert

On today’s early morning walk with the old golden retriever I met another dog walker, Jordan Posner, who is a digital guru, and we talked about why I started this editing-writing website. I told him it mostly was because there didn’t seem to be much written about how editors actually work and the reason for that probably was the fact that most the work we do isn’t very interesting.

He then asked, “Who are the three editors you’d most like to have dinner with?”

I immediately said, “Harold Ross, who founded the New Yorker, and Harold Hayes, the great Esquire editor.”

When Editors Do Something Really Dumb

By Jack Limpert

I edited 490 issues of The Washingtonian and every month when the new issue arrived I opened it thinking, What little time bombs are ticking this month? Mistakes come with the territory when you’re putting together a good-sized magazine.

Your first wish is that there be no certified letters from law firms. Then you wait for the calls, e-mails, and letters. The most abusive phone calls usually came from fellow members of the media: Oscars for loudest vocal performances by an aggrieved journalist go to Sy Hersh and Carl Bernstein.

Editors at Work: The Number That’s Not Talked About

By Jack Limpert

The number that causes headaches among the top people at a print publication but is rarely discussed with the rest of the staff or made public: the renewal rate, the percentage of subscribers who renew each year. The renewal rate at a magazine or newspaper is like the body temperature of a person—it’s a very good way to gauge overall health.