7    The commissioning and the editing

An editor: a person who knows precisely what he wants – but isn’t quite sure. (Walter Davenport, quoted by Bennett Cerf in Saturday Review Reader, No. 2)

Good editing is about knowing when to … ‘drag the readers into a story that they would never before consider reading’. (From Henry Porter, ‘Editors and Egomaniacs’, an essay contributed to The Penguin Book of Journalism. Secrets of the Press, edited by Stephen Glover, 2000)

What editors overwhelmingly want are good ideas. There’s no use being a skilled writer if you have nothing to say. Walter Davenport’s editors are quite sure what they want when presented with a fresh idea well expressed that fits the features formula of their publication and yet is ...

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