My ideal editor is …

As you are reading this, there is a different editor preparing the next issue of What’s Up Yukon, as I have stepped aside to allow some fresh blood to take this beloved paper to the next level.

That editor is a friend of the paper, Elaine Corden, editor of North of Ordinary. She is filling in while my publishers look for that special someone who will guide the many voices of the best writing team this side of the North Pole.

As a fellow reader of What’s Up Yukon, and no longer its editor, I have a wish list of the qualities I want to see in this new editor of ours.

First and foremost is that I do not want them to try everyday to be the best “Darrell Hookey” that they can be. Anyone who sits down in that job interview and says, “The paper is perfect, I wouldn’t change a thing,” deserves to leave immediately … and pay for their own coffee first.

This paper – and How’s Business Yukon and How Ya Feeling Yukon – needs someone who will stand on the foundation that I helped build and take in directions, and to heights, that it needs to go.

To do that, the new editor needs to be tuned into all things fun in the North. Sports, recreation, entertainment, the arts and culture. These areas need to be more than just “a beat”, the new editor needs to appreciate the value of their roles in a vibrant, healthy community.

The other thing I want to see in the new editor is … nothing. Yeah, a good editor is invisible. A good editor allows each writer to bring their own voice to a paper. They are members of the community, they stand among the community and tell its stories. After finding these voices, the editor just needs to fix the spelling and grammar, slap on a headline and photo caption, and get out of the way of this beautiful dialogue between writer and reader.

Then there is a fidelity for the covenant editors have with the reader: Writers do not write for editors; they do not write for themselves; they do not write for the subjects of their stories. They write for the reader. Period. That’s “old school journalism”, and it has served our readers very well so far.

And the last thing I want of our new editor, is a keen eye for the “Gee Whiz”. This is a wonderful land and it is filled with wonderful people. The new editor needs to find the wonder in these wonderful stories and then arrange to have them told well.

It has been my honour to be allowed to tell your stories, through this unique, attuned, invisible, faithful and wonder-filled role of editor.

Thank you.

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