My basic advice to anybody who wants to be writing is to get out on the street, learn how to report, don’t be shy, and hone those reporting skills. And then work on the writing because really, really good reporting is so exciting, and there’s not enough of it. Once you nail those skills, you’ll find your way.
This is one of the most valuable things I learned from Hillary and the other editors who mentored me when I worked at The Observer:
Working at the Observer, I started under Peter Kaplan, that was the first time I really worked in a newsroom with reporters and editors with a beat structure. I took that experience and then launched a culture section when the paper went from broadsheet to tabloid. In the time I was there, I moved over to the media desk, and I was media editor, where I had four great reporters working directly with me on their stories and on their Web pieces. I loved being in that clear structure where the reporters reported to me and I reported to the higher-up editors, the executive editor and the editor-in-chief. It created a really clear chain of command.
I like a beat structure and working in that kind of environment. I think it gives reporters a clear idea of who to go to, who to lean on for advice, for direction and editing input. All of that creates a really important tie between the editor and the reporter.
The rest is here.
Excellent insight from Yahoo! News’ new editor-in-chief.