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How would you handle sensitive writers who question every edit you make?

Answer examples and advice for how to answer this interview question for a newspaper editor interview

How to Answer

An editor is a leader and manager of people and must therefore show sound judgment of character as well as diplomacy.

A sensitive person will require patience and compassion in conjunction with firmness. This kind of person is best led through a combination of consent and firmness.

Explain your understanding of the underlying principle of how you should lead this kind of person. Then talk about what actions you would take, bearing in mind that there are always deadlines to meet.

How would you handle sensitive writers who question every edit you make?
Answer example

"A lot of writers are sensitive, which is understandable because they often put their heart and soul into it and they're doing the very best that they can. As an editor, I might be making tiny little edits on grammar and punctuation, which the writer might see as a slight. So I need to acknowledge their good work and the efforts they make. I might not have time to talk about every little edit, so I'll ask them to write down all their concerns so that we can have a meeting where we can talk about the newspaper's expectations and guidelines. That way we can meet the deadline and the writer still gets to be heard and understood."

View user-submitted Answers

How would you handle sensitive writers who question every edit you make?
I would have a private meeting to understand how they are feeling and what they feel when I edit their work. I would explain that their work is very good (if it was!) and that editing it was just bringing it up to scratch with house-style. They don't need to take it personally as it is not a reflection on the quality of their work, it's just my job to do that.
I will tell them that we need to cater for a broad market, and not individual needs.
Will talk with them and understand how they want me to edit.
I will explain my edits in a calm assertive manner.
In this situation, I've been the writer before. I understand how hard reporters work on their stories and the pride they have in their work. However, I also understand the extreme importance in a second set of eyes. Not even the best pulitzer prize winning writers would submit their work without a second set of eyes editing. In our work, we can't afford to make mistakes. I think it's worth it to get picked apart the avoid errors. There are also ways to explain edits to sensitive writers that eases a feeling of a takeover of their work. For example, I think using phrases like, "What would you think if we worded it this way?". It's important to explain edits to writers. I'm sure there are also instances where the writer will defend their content as is, and as an editor, you understand why.
Keep calm, and not defend myself.Try understand from their own perspective.Combine both of our opinion and reach a conclusion.
Tell them it is not at all personal and you are just doing your job to the best of your abilities.
I would appreciate their criticism and keep what they say in consideration for the next time I edit.

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