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Editors Talk about Editing

Insights for Readers, Writers and Publishers


Susan L. Greenberg

The work of «editing» is by and large something that happens behind the scenes, noticed only when it is done badly, or not done at all. There is not much information about what editors do. The result is that editing is not often talked about in its own right – not even by the people who do it. This collection of interviews attempts to fill some of the gaps. The author, a former editor herself, interviews practitioners at the top of their game – from newspapers, magazines, broadcast news, book publishing, scholarly editing, academic publishing and digital curation. The interviewees think out loud about creativity and human judgment; what they have in common and what makes them different; how editing skills and culture can be shared; why editing continues to fascinate; and why any of this might matter.
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Chapter 6: John Mcintyre, The Baltimore Sun


← 82 | 83 → Chapter 6


Night content production manager, The Baltimore SunInterview: Friday, July 27, 2012by email

John McIntyre has worked at The Baltimore Sun since 1986, with one year’s interruption. And as a veteran, he has fun with the persona of the crusty newspaperman. The cover of a book of maxims, The Old Editor Says (2013b), features a white-haired McIntyre in braces and bow tie. The book is published by his students at Loyola University Maryland, where he has taught copy editing since 1995 (2013a).

McIntyre’s prompt attention to my deadlines and the economy of his responses are all of a piece: the prose is spare but to the point, with plenty of telling detail. As on his blog, ‘You Don’t Say’, the voice is wry, but this does not disguise an intense engagement with writers, readers and editors.

SG What drew you to this type of work?

JM First, economic necessity. I left the PhD program in English at Syracuse University, without completing the dissertation. Settling in Cincinnati with my first wife, who had landed a job there, I persuaded the editors of The Cincinnati Enquirer to give me a three-week tryout on the copy desk, on the strength of my English degrees and six summers’ work at a weekly paper in ← 83 | 84 → Kentucky during high school and college. They found my work satisfactory and offered me a permanent position on the...

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