Among the pearls (pardon the pun) from this Jeff Pearlman interview with longtime Sports Illustrated editor Peter Carry are these handy four rules of editing (I’ve put the most frequently violated rule in bold):
Rule 1: The best ideas come from the guys in the field (and Lord knows whatever other sources outside your office), so listen. Refine. Combine. Bad ideas result in bad stories, no matter who’s doing the writing. Rule 2: Listen and talk to the writer. Don’t nag, don’t hang over her shoulder. But do have a discourse. Challenge. Help the writer refine the idea. Rule 3: Read the damn story all the way through before you lay a pencil or a cursor on it. This seems like a simple matter, like medical personnel always washing their hands before they touch a patient, but you’d be surprised how often patients and stories get prematurely handled. Rule 4: Be gentle but be firm.
He also has some interesting tales of the old days, comparing the SI office to Mad Men.