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What I’ve Learned from Being a Managing Editor

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The title “managing editor” always felt like a dream position to me. I used to fantasize about being behind the steering wheel, driving a publication’s editorial plan forward. I imagined working with other writers to really push them to step outside of their comfort zones, inspire them to break new boundaries and challenge them to put their best work forward.

And I feel so fortunate to say this is exactly what I’ve been doing for the last three months at The Reply.

Moving Beyond the Comfort Zone

When we started The Reply, we knew what key values we wanted our brand to represent. First, we wanted to offer “meaningful commentary,” meaning we wanted to dig beneath the surface of the statistics and stereotypes this generation faces, and really discover what makes us who we are. This requires a level of transparency in the writing we publish. We want readers to relate to the honest stories we share, and learn something about themselves in the process.

Not to mention, I think authenticity is a huge part of writing – and journalism, of course. At the same time, it’s not easy to find. We’re living in a world where photos can be polished to display perfection, and stories can be edited to sell more subscriptions. But readers want to read – and feel – something that is real. And in order to answer this demand, we need to stop hiding from our insecurities.

Aiming for Excellence

We’ve had some great writers contribute to our publication so far. As I work with these writers, I tell them not to be afraid to get personal. Together, we discover areas in a post that can be fleshed out with more detail and other portions that can be cut – perhaps even completely removed. I love the editing process for exactly this reason – it really is about trimming and reshaping a story in order to portray it in its best light.

The other day, one of our contributors told me he had recently forwarded his published story to a senior editor at The Toronto Star, and the editor was “flabbergasted,” by the quality of writing, noting he could easily throw it in tomorrow’s paper if he wanted to. As he shared this feedback with me, he humbly accredited “the editor.” We had worked closely on his post – he was always receptive to feedback and motivated to put the effort in. The finished story is all his – and so is the response he got.

Breaking New Boundaries

At The Reply, we believe millennials are doing amazing things, and we want our publication to help inspire this generation to “break away from the status quo,” and feel comfortable building the life they want to live rather than chasing someone else’s expectations. For this reason, we’re selective with the stories we share.

At the same time, I’ve noticed how much this theme resonates with both our readers and contributors. We’ve had people tell us how one story helped them realize they were not alone in their struggles, or another story helped them to make a decision they were having difficulty with. There is so much we can learn from one another, and I think our contributors realize this too as they share their stories with the world. It’s almost therapeutic for them to write about their challenges. Sometimes they even unlock new solutions in the process, which they may not have initially noticed were there.

It’s so fulfilling to be in a position where there really are no limits. I believe a brand, business or publication is only as strong as the people behind it. And it’s so rewarding to be in a position where I feel like I can help connect people with stories that can make a real difference in their lives.

Are you interested in contributing to The Reply? Get in touch here to hear about our editorial guidelines.

Author:

Charlotte is a writer, blogger and amateur photographer based out of Toronto with interests in positivity, creative muse, generational differences and the future of work. She has written for Zoomer Magazine, The Globe and Mail, The Huffington Post Canada and other Canadian publications. She currently blogs for a range of small and medium-sized businesses.

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