Categorized | Editorial


Anatomy of an Editorial

When I write my editorial, my thoughts come out very quickly. There are some thoughts that come out that don’t express exactly what I want to convey. That’s when Katherine will say, “What exactly are you feeling?” Sometimes when I am constructing a sentence, Katherine might say, “Maybe you would like to substitute another one word for another word in the sentence?”

Depending on the subject I’m writing about, I may want Katherine and Paul to contribute their opinion to the editorial.

I remember one editorial I was dictating to Katherine. As she was typing it up, out of the blue she told me that she totally disagreed with my viewpoint. I told her, “Good, you’re going to write this editorial with me.” The funny thing is that now, we can barely remember what the disagreement was about. But I remember that she did make a good argument and was able to bring me a little over to my her side.

I also remember one time when I just drew a blank and had no clue as to what I wanted to write an editorial about. I said to Paul, “You’re going to write the editorial.” Paul agreed and when he submitted his editorial to me it was so off the wall, I told him, “No way is that going in my paper!” All I can say is it had to do with video games. Enough said right there. Paul will probably chuckle when he recalls that little episode. But by doing that crazy editorial it inspired me to come up with an editorial in its place that week.

Then there are editorials that are difficult but very easy to write about. These editorial are about individuals that has passed away who we have known personally or were important to the community of Perth Amboy. Some of those individuals included my dad (Rockwell Maxwell Sr.), Bill George, Richard Piatkowski, LeRoy Nanton, Jim Hardiman, Carlos Martins, and Major.

As Katherine was typing this editorial she reminded me of topics that may have been controversial. When this happens there are certain individuals that I may send the rough draft to for their insight.

This includes a variety of individuals that I have known anywhere from two to twenty years. The most important thing is not how long I’ve known them, but how well I trust them.

These individuals will be honest in their opinion without being offensive or sugar coating their thoughts. I kind of call them my sparring partners.

In political debates, the candidates usually have someone from their own party to practice with to prepare for what their opponents might throw at them. That is why they are my sparring partners.

What is surprising is that some of my sparring partners who I think will be most critical are the ones that will say, “Let the editorial go as is – I love it.” Sometimes they will criticize the editorial as “choppy” or “unclear” so I am aware of what to fix.

In the long run, I have to decide if I’m going to take some, all or none of the advice given to me. But I’ll tell you the best part of writing the editorials, is the freedom to express my opinions. I am also open to the opinions expressed by my staff and they know that they have the freedom to contribute their thoughts as well.

I don’t like “Yes People” working for me. I feel that those who “Yes” you to death can cause you to become stagnant. My staff and I will have heated disagreements (no physical punches), but those disagreements are the ones that (in my opinion) help keep the paper fresh. C.M.

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