I have never blogged before. (Well, once, but only because I lost a bet.)
In principle, I support any attempt to upgrade the dinosaur-like news industry, which must be dragged by its graying hair into a 21st Century populated by social media-savvy news consumers. In practice, I’m a devout Neo-Luddite, more shocked and awed by the accelerating pace of communications technology than cheerfully and geekily swept up in it.
That said, I have resisted this editor’s blog long enough.
I’ve been the Arts & Culture Editor of the Vanguard for three weeks now, and I feel rather like an absentee father. I began the term with a stock of six writers, three of whom quit. I’ve since hired 11 writers, but my section was so desperate for content that I couldn’t afford the luxury of formally interviewing them. To be honest, I don’t even know what many of them look like. They were hired on the basis of their writing samples, enthusiasm, work ethic, and receptiveness to criticism – most of which I gauged over the phone. (That’s right, I employed the Oxford comma. Got a problem with that?)
We’re off to a promising start, and I have yet to regret my haphazard hiring process. But I do regret how little time I have spent with my writers and how little guidance I have given them. I pledge to meet with each one individually over the next two weeks, assess their comfort level, offer them fair-minded feedback, and finally slip into the coveted role of the overbearing, micromanaging, endlessly faultfinding boss.
Meantime, my primary goal is to continue diversifying our subject matter, even if it means we occasionally print something that has no earthly business in an Arts & Culture section.