From the Founders I

Of Editors and Editing



Photograph by: Bob Capazzo

There are many kinds of editors. And I still haven’t figured out most of their job descriptions. On a small (but mighty) magazine, we all wear lots of hats. But according to the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME), there are editorial directors, editors, managing editors, senior/executive editors, features/associate/assistant editors, copy-editors/researchers and others.

Missing in ASME action is editor-in-chief, my title for twenty years at Greenwich Magazine. Oh well, what’s in a title? I’ve had many — from contributing editor of the Greenwich Review to my current status as founder/editorial adviser. And I’ve been proud to bear each one. That is, once I got over the shock of being an editor at all. In December 1986, when we bought the Review, I turned to Jack at the closing and asked him: “So who’s going to be editor?” “You are,” he said. “But I’m a writer!” I stammered. “I don’t know anything about editing!” He looked me straight in the eye and said, “Donna, we can’t afford an editor. You’re it!”

Of course, people can be touchy about titles. Early on, we had a young employee who worked in production designing the magazine. She wanted the title of associate editor. I pointed out that she wasn’t an editor but that she did indeed assist the editors. So how about editorial assistant? No, she said, she would never be an “assistant” again. (I wish I could say that in life and have it stick.) Later, I told the story to the husband of one of our editors, Cinnie Coulson, and Bobby said, “Well, we just have one title for everybody in our law firm in New York: serf.”

Good editing, or the lack of it, can make or break a book. It’s a detail business, and editors have to check every one. Long ago, we interviewed a woman for a story on second homes. She said she had taken art classes in Portland, fallen in love with the area and decided “to take her time and mosey up to Maine” to buy a summer house there. Due to a one-letter typo, what came out in print was that she’d decided “to take her time and money” up to Maine. As luck would have it, this woman was particularly sensitive about the size of her large pocketbook. She was not amused.

On the other hand, after we announced the marriage of the granddaughter of Mrs. Stillman Rockefeller and the late Mr. Rockefeller, we found out he wasn’t “late” at all. He called to tell me so. And, in fact, he was amused.

Then there was the time we spelled Rukeyser wrong on the cover. Fine fellow that he was, Lou never complained, but when we discovered our giant error, I sent him an apology saying, “Yes, I do know how to spell Rukeyser,” and wrote it in longhand 100 times. We laughed about it together whenever we met, usually at Princeton reunions.

Editors love to proof menus in restaurants, but most of all, we love words. I was just reading Ken Follett’s World Without End and learned where pitfall came from. In fourteenth-century battles, the English dug holes one-foot deep and one-foot square in front of their dismounted knights in order to trip up the huge French warhorses when they came charging in, thus throwing their heavily armored riders to the ground.

About windfall: Apparently that word came from our pre-Revolutionary days when the British needed wood for ships and wouldn’t let the Colonists cut down trees. They were, however, allowed to claim trees blown down by the wind. Fun, what? So now I’m happy to be an editor — by any name.

— Donna Moffly

 

Greenwich Agenda

  • Parties at the JCC Center

    2014.09.02
     @ Stamford JCC

    A place to celebrate birthdays and special occasions. Be a guest at your own party! The JCC offers a wonderful space for you and your guests to...

  • Greenwich Harbor Sunset Wine Cruise | Greenwich, CT

    2014.06.05
     @ Delamar Hotel Dock

    The boat "Prudence" departs from the Delamar Hotel Dock on 500 Steamboat Rd. All the wine is sponsored through VALS with food...

  • GREENWICH FASHION ON THE AVENUE

    2014.09.05
     @ Greenwich Avenue

      GREENWICH FASHION ON THE AVENUE TO BE HELD SEPTEMBER 5 FEATURING LIVE RUNWAY SHOW, CAR AND BOAT SHOW Greenwich Avenue will...

  • SM&NC Farm Market

    2014.06.15
     @ Stamford Museum & Nature Center

    Sundays, June 15 – October 5, 10am – 2pm We're thrilled to bring back the SM&NC Farm Market — now on Sundays!...

  • Exclusive Tour of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Yale University Art Gallery

    2014.09.09
     @ Yale University Art Gallery

    Join JCC Greenwich for an exclusive tour with museum curator Elizabeth Manekin. The collection is noteworthy for exemplary works from the...

  • Junior League of Greenwich's New Member Open House

    2014.09.09
     @ Junior League of Greenwich

    Please join us for cocktails and casual conversation to learn more about the Junior League of Greenwich and how you can become a member. ...

  • Understanding the Gaza War: Strategic & Political Implications

    2014.09.09
     @ Greenwich Library, Cole Auditorium

    Dr. Efraim Inbar is a Professor in Political Studies at Bar-Ilan University and Director of its renowned Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic...

  • Bruce Museum: Look and See - Into the Deep

    2014.09.10
     @ Bruce Museum

    A program especially designed for children ages 3-5 years and their adult caregivers, who will explore the Museum’s exhibition through...

  • College Admissions Boot Camp | Greenwich, CT

    2014.09.13

    College Prep 360 will be offering two college admissions “boot camps” in their Greenwich office over the summer. The first workshop...

  • Nigh Season: New Paintings By David Konigsberg

    2014.09.13
     @ Kenise Barnes Fine Art

    Dates: September 13 – October 31, 2014 Opening Reception: September 13, 6 – 8:30 PM  Public Invited   NIGH...

  • Undulate: Paintings By Julie Gross and Margaret Neill

    2014.09.13
     @ Kenise Barnes Fine Art

    GALLERY II Dates: September 13 – October 31, 2014 Opening Reception: September 13, 6 – 8:30 PM Public Invited...

  • Greenwich Area Newcomers Annual Lobster Fest

    2014.09.14
     @ Tod's Point Clambake Area

    This is our kickoff event each year-held at Tod's Point Clambake area. The event is scheduled for Sunday September 14th starting...

  • Information Fair

    2014.09.16
     @ YMCA

    Our Annual Information Fair - This event showcases non profits , community businesses, schools and  services in the Greenwich...

  • Laurel House Family Seminar Series

    2014.09.18
     @ Laurel House

    Thursday evenings, September 18, October 2, 16, 30, 6:30-8:00 pm Join us Thursday evenings for this four part Family Seminar Series as...

  • SoulCycle GWCH for Make-A-Wish CT

    2014.09.20
     @ SoulCycle

    Make-A-Wish Connecticut is thrilled to be partnering with SoulCycle's Greenwich location for a charity ride on Saturday, September 20th!...

  • Arts & Crafts on Bedford

    2014.09.20
     @ Bedford Street

    Shop at over 100 craft and artisan boutiques on Bedford Street, which will be closed to traffic for the weekend. Dine in our extended sidewalk...


Show More...

Most Popular Articles

  1. Best of Greenwich
    Delamar Greenwich Harbor
  2. 10 Things Greenwich Teens Can Do This Summer
    One Greenwich teen shares some suggestions for summer fun!
  3. American Red Cross: Red and White Ball 2014
    NetJets Hangar at Westchester County Airport
  4. Villa Maria School: Annual Spring Gala
    Richards of Greenwich
  5. Save the Children Benefit
    Riverside Yacht Club