Editor: Jay Wang Company: The Washington Post # of years in editing: 20
Tell us a little about yourself, including how you got started as an editor?
After my junior year in college, I got my first taste of editing via a copy editing internship through the Dow Jones News Fund's Ottaway editing program. I quickly found that I enjoyed the pace of the job and the satisfaction of putting the finishing touches on a daily newspaper.
What is your area of focus and why did you select this niche?
I'm a homepage editor at The Post, so I try to stay up to date on just about everything that we might write an article about. (It's an impossible task, but I try my best!) I've been interested in news since I was very young -- my first regular newspaper reading was the What's News column on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. I'm pretty sure I had no understanding of what I was reading, but I enjoyed spending time with my mom as she read the paper.
Walk us through a typical workday. How do you manage your time?
I spend the first 30 minutes or so of my shift catching up on notes from co-workers and reviewing any news I might have missed while I was out of the office. My team runs 24/7, so we have a few ways we keep everyone on the same page.
Once I'm settled in, my responsibilities vary depending on the day of week, but I'll be in charge of one of our digital platforms, which include the desktop and mobile websites and one of The Post's apps.
We have to be ready to drop whatever we're working on at a moment's notice and turn to something else. We often don't have the luxury of giving our undivided attention to one task at a time. This sometimes means trashing something I've been working on for 20 minutes and starting over from scratch when I can get back to it. It can be frustrating, but you learn to accept it and move on.
What is your favorite thing about being an editor?
It's really satisfying to know that so many people see the work I do on a daily basis, even if they don't know it's me. (It's also kind of surreal to know that some of the most important people in the world are reading my words!)
We have a really collaborative team, and it's great to work with so many amazing journalists across the newsroom.
What is your biggest challenge and how do you work through this?
As I said earlier, it's impossible to stay up to date on everything that's going on in the news. With ongoing topics in the news, that can make it difficult to stay on top of which developments are incremental and which are major news. That makes it vital to have a good working relationship with other editors and reporters who provide the necessary context and help me decide how stories should be presented on The Post's website.
We also use bots and our own monitoring of news sites to keep an eye on what's going on in the world. The bots in particular are a great tool because they're sophisticated enough to filter out a lot of the noise on the internet.
What are you currently working on?
The impeachment inquiry and the 2020 campaign are going to be at the forefront of what we're covering for the next year, but I'm always trying to give some space to pretty much anything that's unrelated. The Post is producing plenty of fantastic work on other topics, too!
What advice do you have for someone who is just starting their career as an editor?
There's more information out there than ever before, and that can be overwhelming. But it's crucial for editors to absorb as much of that information as they can, however they prefer to do it. Even if you work with really specific subject matter, eventually it is going to be helpful to know something about a completely unrelated topic.