“Journalism is the first rough draft of history” is a quote attributed commonly to the former Washington Post President and Publisher Philip L. Graham.
But who trains journalists on how to write better drafts?
Yes, great newsrooms (including The Ken’s) have the Desk function and other editors who help writers convert their reporting into better news stories. But if I’m being honest, given the tightly staffed newsrooms that are the norm today, much of that feedback is tactical. Meaning, it directly relates to a specific story draft and how best to refine and improve it. This is not bad, because the best way to become a better writer is through the iterative process of drafts, feedback, and refinement time after time.
But every now and then, its great to have strategic feedback too.
By this I mean a process to help writers step back from specific stories and improve their overall storytelling craft at a deeper, more fundamental level.
Which is why training is an important function inside vibrant newsrooms. It is important for journalists who spend precious time on a single story to delve deeper into their subjects, use multiple reporting tools, uncover unknown facets, and break new ground with their reportage.
While a seasoned editor is often a reporter’s best guide, a training editor with considerable experience in deep dive reporting and a personal conviction in telling stories from multiple perspectives and dimensions can be a reporter’s best coach. At the newsroom level, training editors are also capable of observing larger patterns and then shape storytelling by codifying and documenting learnings into a knowledge base.
That’s why I’m thrilled to welcome Sai Manish as The Ken’s Training Editor.
With nearly 14 years of experience in journalism, Sai joins us from Business Standard, where he was an Associate Editor. In over 13 years in the media industry, he has worked across the television, print and digital mediums, and journalistic formats like investigative magazine journalism, general newspapers, financial newspapers and long form features.
It’s Sai’s breadth of experience as a reporter, writer and editor that made him a fit for the Training Editor role in an organization that today straddles multiple formats (with more in the pipeline).
Sai holds an economics degree from the Shri Ram College of Commerce in Delhi University, and a post-graduate degree in journalism from the Asian College of Journalism in Chennai.
He says he is one of the lucky few who make a living doing what they love. Oh, he also claims he can combine Tamil and Punjabi on the fly in sentences, leaving most Tamilians and Punjabis scratching their heads 😐
Like most of us at The Ken, you can reach Sai at his [email protected]