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

  • Exhibit Ira BARKOFF

    2014.10.11
     @ Canfin Gallery

    “The beauty of the physical world becomes a metaphor for the capacity of the spirit to reveal itself". Ira Barkoff Evocation of...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • SPLURGE Matches Scarf Donations for Cancer Patients

    2014.10.01
     @ SPLURGE

    SPLURGE and the Cancer Institute at Greenwich Hospital are partnering to bring comfort and encouragement to cancer patients.  From October...

  • Flinn Gallery Art Opening

    2014.10.30
     @ Flinn Gallery 2nd floor

    FLINN GALLERY Opening Reception 'IN FOCUS' Thursday October 30, 6 - 8pm Seven artists share their visions - Carolyn Conrad,...

  • IMAGINE CANDY- SWEET TASTINGS!!!

    2014.10.24
     @ Imagine Candy

    Imagine Candy located in Scarsdale Village- Winner of 2014 Best West of Westchester by Westchester Magazine- holds a Belgian Chocolate and Candy...

  • Flower Power

    2014.10.08
     @ SM Home Gallery

    SM Home Gallery show featuring two Greenwich based artists: Margaret Bragg and Penny Putnam. The art show runs thorough November 22nd....

  • Harvest Fair and Gift Show

    2014.11.01
     @ Second Congregational Church

    Event Will Include Hay Mazes, Games, Crafts, Food, Holiday Shopping The community is invited to a Harvest Fair and Gift Show on Saturday, Nov....

  • New Fitness Class: SalsaTone

    2014.11.01
     @ Latin Moves Dance Studio

    Starting November 1st ~ Every Saturday morning 10 to 11 AM Instructor: Melissa Lopez Start your weekend off right with this exciting cardio...

  • Lynne Scalo Design Opening

    2014.11.05

    Please join Lynne Scalo, Greenwich Magazine and athome Magazine to celebrate the Greenwich showroom opening of Lynne Scalo Design Cocktails...

  • Breast Cancer Alliance Benefit Luncheon & Fashion Show

    2014.11.06
     @ Hyatt Regency Greenwich

    Breast Cancer Alliance to Host Branching Out, Coming Together, Aspiring to a Cure 19th Annual Benefit Luncheon & Fashion Show: November 6,...

  • Free Screening of Documentary ' Children of the Inquisition'

    2014.11.06
     @ Bush-Holley House

    Join filmmaker Joseph Lovett as he presents his documentary film and multi-platform project of personal exploration and...

  • P.A.L.S. 2nd Annual Soarin' Soiree~ November 7, 2014

    2014.11.07
     @ Greenwich Country Club

    You are invited to join our State Senator, L. Scott Frantz and our First Selectman, Peter J. Tesei, for an awe-inspiring evening to benefit Patient...

  • John Hardy Event

    2014.11.08
     @ Bloomingdale's

    John Hardy One of a kind. One at a time. Each by hand. Bloomingdale's is inviting YOU to meet the head designer Guy Bedarida as he presents...

  • Olivine Gabbro Opening

    2014.11.08

    Olivine Gabbro invites you to join them for their Opening Party! DJ | Cocktails | H'Orderves | Gift Bags Made to Measure Beautifully...

  • Meet Joshua Safran, Author of "Free Spirit: Growing Up On the Road and Off the Grid"

    2014.11.11
     @ YWCA Greenwich

    Meet the author of this powerful memoir. Joshua Safran is an author, attorney, occasional rabbi, and nationally recognized advocate for...

  • Markham Roberts: Decorating the Way I See It

    2014.11.13
     @ Belle Haven Club

    Join us as Interior Designer Markham Roberts shares coveted design insights, key to creating the perfect home. The program will include...


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