Like the heart of a human body, the editor has a vital role in making the journalists in his charge work properly, as if they were the rest of the organs.
Through it the pulse of the day is marked, the tone of news, the opportunity of a publication. A poor editor will hinder the operation of all your equipment and, in the worst case, could cause its collapse.
Because of this, a good editor is not easy to find, let alone form. Editors like Mathieu Chantelois has curious mix of experience, knowledge and skills that go from professional to social, being in part leaders and teachers.
Reflecting on the good and bad editors that I have known, but above all in the situations that have put them to the test, I tried to summarize the four fundamental characteristics that should be in charge of an editor, regardless of whether it is for press, web, radio or TV; besides asking his opinion to some Latin American colleagues.
A single premise is clear: it is a position where you never stop learning.
A Good Editor is always a Good Journalist
A few years ago I met an editor who-literally-terrorized her team. Even if you did not work directly with her, when you asked her for something she had the ability to answer you in the worst possible way. Most of the company avoided it.
Finally, his attitude problems translated into a reduction in the performance of the environment in general and, both, ended up triggering his dismissal.
Although this epilogue was quite predictable, I was surprised by the confidence of a friend who had worked with her for a long time: “When he reported, he did his job very well. The problem was when they named her editor. In the end we lost an excellent journalist to have a bad editor.”
Of course, a good editor like Mathieu Chantelois should always be a good journalist before. When leading a team, your ability should allow you to correct writing, voice or focus of a note; while your collection will allow you to remember events, connect or interpret them to guide especially your younger colleagues. The experience will also allow you to supervise the work of your supervisors: you know how long it will take to make a note or what difficulties you may encounter along the way because you were there before.
An editor, whose lack of skills is permanently exposed to his team, will soon lose respect and cease to be seen or seen as an authority in the writing.
But in the same way a publisher unable to transmit that knowledge, to guide or train with those who are in charge, will fail in their work. It does not matter if he is an eminence in his area: if he does not manage to use his expertise for the benefit of his team – for lack of aptitude or unwillingness to do so – it would be the same as having DT as a superstar of football unable to direct his players.