1. Show up on time to meetings
Sure it only took you an extra five minutes to grab that cup of coffee or send that last email, but if you show up tardy to meetings you look like a slacker. That scowl your editor is shooting your way? It’s reserved especially for you.
2. Suggest your own stories
Editors love ambition and consistently coming up with great ideas is a sure way to impress them.
3. Ask for their input before the story runs
Don’t wait until the moment you hand over your story to ask for your editor’s input. Often these consultations can generate great ideas or angles you may not have thought of yourself.
4. Refer to their award-winning story
The rack of Emmys are Pulitzers on their wall? Ask them how they got those stories and any techniques that would translate to your story. After all, they didn’t earn them for nothing.
5. Create memos
TPS reports suck but many editors seem to have an affinity for memos and emails that keep them updated on the progress of your story. Also, a well-crafted memo can save you awkward face time later on.
6. Keep your copy clean
Writing that is riddled with spelling or grammar mistakes is a sure way to incur the wrath of your editor. Keep them on your good side by giving your copy a second look before you hand it over.
7. Fact-check your stories
Any editor worth their salt will inevitably ask where certain information came from. Be ready for this with explicit answers and a list of your sources. And for the love of all things holy, don’t say Wikipedia.
8. Meet deadlines
Consistently submitting stories hours or days after they were due is the surest way to drive an editor to the brink of madness. If your project will be late, let the editor know ahead of time or, you know, just try to make the deadline.
9. Don’t cry when your copy is cut
It’s okay to fight for your work once in awhile, but editors exist for a reason: to trim away some of the unnecessary or redundant parts. Nine times out of ten, your story will be better for it.
10. Buy them a beer
Editors are people too and enjoy the occasional informal social gathering. Let them know you appreciate them and they’ll appreciate you back.
Thanks to Lisa Pickoff-White for her help in crafting this post.
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