The 12 Timeless Rules for Making a Good Publication – Alexis Madrigal – The Atlantic

Here’s a transcription of the whole list, for search engines’ sakes:

  1. When in doubt, let a manuscript go back.
  2. Always remember that the fastidious element in the Atlantic audience is its permanent and valuable core.
  3. Don’t over-edit. You will often estrange an author by too elaborate a revision, and furthermore, take away from the magazine the variety of style that keeps it fresh.
  4. Avoid mistakes of fact. If a paper is statistical, question the author closely.
  5. The Atlantic has always been recognized as belonging to the Liberal wing. Be liberal, but be radical only as a challenge to be answered.
  6. Be careful about expenses. Calculate the cost of each number. Remember that our margin is always narrow.
  7. A sound editor never has a three-months’ full supply in his cupboard. When you over-buy, you narrow your future choice.
  8. Follow the news. Remember that timeliness means being on time, not before the time.
  9. Interesting papers on conscience, personal religion, theory of living, are always precious. The Atlantic has three dimensions — breadth of interest, height of interest, depth of interest. Individual personal philosophy always adds to the depth.
  10. Keep all suggestions in the Black Book, so that they can be followed up.
  11. Humor is precious and correspondingly hard to find. Most humor that reaches us is merely jocularity, and it is well to be jocular only when really funny.
  12. Quick decisions — except in poetry. Collect groups of verse and make a selection after several readings.

Blogging it here so I can chew on it later.


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