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...

  • Financial Literacy 2-Day Lecture Presented by Bob Salomon at YMCA of Greenwich

    2014.10.21
     @ YMCA of Greenwich

    Making sense of the world of finance FREE and open to all *Participants should pick up a copy of the Wall Street Journal on Oct.22, as Bob...

  • YMCA of Greenwich Harvest Art Week

    2014.10.18
     @ YMCA of Greenwich

    YMCA of Greenwich Harvest Art Week October 18 - 26, 2014 Join us for a week-long celebration of local art! Showcasing established and emerging...

  • 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...

  • Paint the Town Pink

    2014.10.21
     @ Lux Bond & Green

    Key to the Treasure Chest Indulge yourself at an elegant but fun event presented by Lux Bond & Green and Anne Fontaine Preview the newest...

  • 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...

  • 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....

  • Meet Nomi Eve, Author of Henna House

    2014.10.22

    An evocative and stirring novel about a young woman living in the fascinating and rarely portrayed community of Yemenite Jews of the mid-twentieth...

  • Susan G. Komen CT Educational Session at YMCA of Greenwich

    2014.10.22
     @ YMCA of Greenwich

    FREE AND OPEN TO THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY! Learn about the importance of early detection and screenings Meet the men and women whose work is...

  • Greenwich Chamber of Commerce Networking Event

    2014.10.23
     @ Delamar Hotel

    Greenwich Chamber of Commerce will hold its October After Six Networking event. All are invited to exchange business cards, enjoy appetizers and...

  • October After Six

    2014.10.23
     @ Delamar Hotel

    Join us for After Six Networking at the Delamar Hotel

  • Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams

    2014.10.23

    Athome Magazine celebrates Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams' fall collection with fabulous vignettes from some of your favorite A-List designers....

  • Oktoberfest 2014 Greenwich United Way

    2014.10.24
     @ Loading Dock

    Greenwich United Way’s sixth annual “Oktoberfest” fundraiser is set for Friday, October 24 at Stamford’s Loading...

  • The Food Network Open Casting Call for Home Cooks

    2014.10.25
     @ My Cooking Party

    FOOD NETWORK’S TOP CELEBRITY CHEFS ARE SCOURING THE NATION IN SEARCH OF AMAZING HOME COOKS! You’ve watched them on TV, bought their...

  • Greenwich Hospital Gala

    2014.10.25
     @ Greenwich Country Club

    It will be a Gala worthy of a doge when retiring Greenwich Hospital president and CEO, Frank A. Corvino, will be presented with the...

  • The Wilton Fall Antiques Market

    2014.10.26
     @ Wilton High School Field House

    Barnstar Productions and the Wilton Historical Society will present the Wilton Antiques Market. More than 80 exhibitors are expected to...

  • La Soirée d’ Automne at Bistro Versailles

    2014.10.27
     @ Bistro Versailles and Patisserie

    Wine dinners at Bistro Versailles are entertaining social events held on a regular basis. Socialize with friends and mingle with other attendees...


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