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

  • The Many Faces of Multi Media

    2014.09.20
     @ Meli-Melo of Greenwich

    Dr. Julia Trebing, Director Creative Therapies in Stamford, CT exhibits her paintings at Meli-Melo Creperie & Juice Bar  during Sept...

  • 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!...

  • Wall Street Tennis Challenge

    2014.09.20
     @ Greenwich Country Club

    The goal of The Wall Street Tennis Challenge is to support the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation’s efforts while spreading awareness...

  • 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...

  • Isaia Fall Trunk Show

    2014.09.19
     @ Richards

  • Nam Cho Trunk Show

    2014.09.20
     @ Richards

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • Puttin’ On The Dog Festival

    2014.09.21
     @ Roger Sherman Baldwin Park

    Puttin’ On The Dog Festival Greenwich, Connecticut the place to be on September 21st for dogs and their owners...

  • Candy Fairies Book Reading

    2014.09.21
     @ Imagine Candy

    SCARSDALE, NY, Imagine Candy brings the acclaimed children's author Helen Perelman, the writer of the wickedly sweet Candy Fairies book...

  • Chizi's Tale Book Launch Party

    2014.09.21
     @ Tudor Investment Campus

    You and your family are invited to join Diane's Books of Greenwich and TUSK USA to celebrate the launch of Chizi's Tale: The True Story...

  • Chizi's Tale Book Launch Party

    2014.09.21
     @ Tudor Investment Campus

    You and your family are invited to join Diane's Books of Greenwich and TUSK USA to celebrate the launch of Chizi's Tale: The True Story...

  • 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!...

  • "Israel and the U.S."

    2014.09.22
     @ New Canaan Library

    The public is invited to attend a World Affairs Forum Great Decisions event featuring Seth Anziska, Columbia University. Mr. Anziska will speak...

  • Holistic Health Practitioner Kevin W. Reese

    2014.09.24
     @ Meli-Melo

    Meet Holistic Health Practitioner Kevin W. Reese & Take Home a Signed Copy of His New Book! Kevin is a holistic health practitioner,...

  • Annual State of the Town Address and Luncheon | Greenwich, CT

    2014.09.25
     @ Milbrook Club

    Greenwich Chamber of Commerce Annual State of the Town Address and Luncheon will be held at Milbrook Club. Registration 11:30am; start at...

  • 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...

  • Aaron Henry Trunk Show & Personal Appearance

    2014.09.26
     @ Richards


Show More...

Most Popular Articles

  1. American Red Cross: Red and White Ball 2014
    NetJets Hangar at Westchester County Airport
  2. Fashion Day Out
    September 13, 11am to 6pm
  3. Stars of Greenwich
    Meet the founders of the Greenwich International Film Festival
  4. Moroccan Nights
    Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich
  5. 5 Key Pieces To Buy Now
    Buy now and wear all season