The frontline editor’s job is one that, in the words of Jacqui Banaszynski, who holds the Knight Chair in Editing at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, “has expanded to one that just keeps on expanding.” As she observes, changing duties often lead to a new name for the job but “none speak to the complexities or to the whole.” Her article is the first in a series of stories, compiled by a founder of the Frontline Editors Project, John F. Greenman, for Nieman Reports. These articles, described briefly below, track changes in this vital newsroom job and show how best to prepare for the range of its responsibilities.

  • Mae Cheng, regional editor at Newsday, highlights moments in the work of frontline editors to illustrate lessons to be learned from doing what they do.
  • Stuart Warner, enterprise editor and writing coach at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio, illustrates the editor-writer relationship in narrative journalism and how he handles that work in the midst of his other editor duties.
  • John Greenman, the Carolyn McKenzie and Don E. Carter Professor of Journalism at the University of Georgia, explores the difficulties reporters can experience when they become frontline editors and describes new efforts being made to ease their transition.
  • Michele McLellan, who directs Tomorrow’s Workforce at Northwestern University, writes about a new online training initiative created by the Frontline Editors Project to which prospective and current editors can turn for assistance.
  • Marty Claus, former vice president/news for Knight Ridder and now a consultant on recruitment and training, tells what the project’s online training will offer journalists in determining their suitability for the job and their development in it.
  • Lillian Swanson, director of NewsTrain, a training program for frontline editors developed by the Associated Press Managing Editors, offers tips and advice for training editors and describes how some newsrooms approach their own training.
  • Carl Sessions Stepp, a former editor and now journalism professor at the University of Maryland, writes about how few resources are available for those entering an editor’s job. He also compiles a list of books, articles and Web sites to which editors can go for advice and inspiration.

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