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Lessons From Linda Hasert

by Eliajuh, posted February 12, 2013

One of my editors, Linda Hasert, took a buyout a few weeks ago, after 31 years at the Inquirer. I sat down with her last week to grab some last-minute wisdom, asking her to boil down four decades of journalism experience to a handful of tips and tricks.


Writing

Her first piece of advice was immediate:

“Respect all departments,” she said. “Respect all qualifications of other people to make suggestions.”

Linda herself had worked in multiple capacities, including spending several years in Features and heading a “Quality of Life” group. As she explained, people jump around in this industry, and someone may very well have more experience than you in doing your job, even if they no longer do it. Plus, she said, people in other positions have important perspectives.

It’s important to be aware of soft deadlines and be in communication with editors. A story may not have to be turned in until 9 p.m., but length, photographs, graphics, &c. are determined long before that final deadline.

“Let editors know that you need new space,” she warned, “especially as you get closer to deadline. … by the end of the night, the whole thing’s like a big jigsaw puzzle and your story is just the final piece.”

(A specific tip for the Inquirer’s CMS, Hermes: try to embed in your mind how wide a column is, because the line counts become inaccurate once the layout’s been set. The only surefire way to check is to copy the story into a junk slug.)

Two Potomac Residents Reflect on Decades

Lewis, a journalist, worked 16 years for the Washington Star as a radio columnist, then the Washington Times as a television critic, and finished his career with the Bureau of National Affairs.
Full article: Two Potomac Residents Reflect on Decades

Cookbook writer Anne Willan on her library of old friends

Grande Dame: teacher, author and award-winning chef Anne Willan (right, with Xanthe Clay) 'deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Elizabeth David’ Photo: Lucas Schifres/Pictobank
The idea for the school that made Willan’s name came when the book collection was already well established. After 10 years living in Europe and America, while Willan worked as food editor for the Washington Star and then as a freelance editor, Cherniavsky grew restless in his work as an economist, calling it “a golden cage”.

Denis Horgan

New book, "The Bangkok World" - It was a long season of war, of exotic adventures, of Asian aura, beauty and mystery – and of newspapering such as cannot ever happen again. Denis Horgan, as a very young man, found himself suddenly in the middle of it all – as an Army officer, searching for a missing millionaire in the jungles, as editor-in-chief of the Bangkok World only a few years from when his grandest achievement with newspapers was delivering them from his bicycle. ‘The Bangkok World’ captures those elusive days with the spark and energy that created them.