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Jack Shafer Edits Wisely

Jack Shafer GJack Shafer is currently a columnist at Reuters, but years ago, he was the editor of Washington City Paper. According to David Plotz, Slate’s editor, Shafer was quite blunt when it came to revisions.

Plotz told Digiday the following:

When I got my first journalism job at the Washington City Paper in 1993, I was not a good reporter and I was not a good writer. I turned in a long feature about a neighborhood fight over a power plant to the editor, Jack Shafer. Jack looked at the story, then ran a global search-and-replace on the document, swapping out every single ‘is’ and ‘are’ with the word ‘fuck.’ He told me: Don’t come back until you have replaced every fuck with an active verb. That was great advice for a young writer and reporter, and it made for one aggro story.

Words — or, word — to live by.

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