paul sann journalism, letters, writing


                Letter from a teenage reader:

                                          Brooklyn, New York
                                          April 29, 1969

Mr. Paul Sann
Executive Editor
New York Times
New York, New York

Dear Sir,
    I am a junior high school student. I received an assignment from my English teacher pertaining to the job of the editor. I would deeply appreciate it if you would send me as much information as possible about the job of the executive editor. Please send this information as quickly as possible.

                                          Sincerley yours,

                Reply to teenager:

                                         May 1, 1969

Miss E-------
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Dear E----

          Naturally, when I got your letter I put everything aside -- wars, famine, floods, campus uprisings, political battles, decentralization, even scandal -- and hastened to my little typewriter.

          E----, you can't imagine what an Executive Editor does. I am exhausted when I think of it. There isn't enough stationery here for me to put it all down, but --

          An Executive Editor, at least on this newspaper, is charged with full responsibility for the news coverage and features in the paper. He has nothing whatever to do with the editorial page or the newspaper's policies. He gets out of bed very early in the morning, even before sun-up sometimes, and he makes his way to the City Room of the paper and proceeds to go over each and everything -- except editorials -- which is going into that day's editions. He reads this mass of material either in carbon copies or proofs and he goes over the judgments made by his associates about the relative display one story or another might be worth in the layout for that edition. He questions anything he has any doubt about, he discards any stories which he may feel are beneath notice, he considers questions of libel and good taste. He goes over all the headlines. He reads the columns going into that day's paper, too, just so that he knows what the heavier thinkers are saying. He takes a quick look at the pictures which have been assembled during the night and selects one for the front page. Often, he writes the front page headlines himself.

          I hope this will give you an idea.

          I know you wrote to our Managing Editor too, but you don't need a reply from him because his work in general overlaps that of the Executive Editor: that is, he does many of the same things.


PS/ps                               PAUL SANN


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