How to Craft the Perfect Editor-In-Chief

in Editorials | February 16, 2024

All authentic Editors-in-Chief start out as humble writers (who are, after all, at the heart of The Lawrence). But after being seasoned with experience, braised in passion, and topped with ambition, the once-weekly Features or Opinions contributor develops an unfathomably rich taste profile and texture that’ll be sure to warm your soul. Serve with your favorite sides of Section Editors and Executive Editor refreshments, and you will have a meal sure to delight journalists and Lawrentians alike.

  1. Begin with a writer. While this isn’t the decisive factor of a good EIC, starting out with a talented and dedicated writer cultivates a high standard for Section Editors to respect and emulate. Of course, good writers themselves take time to develop. But that’s why skill and passion are so important; a poorly homogenized writer rises unevenly when you let it proof to the position of EIC, whereas a passionate one develops consistency. For this EIC, we chose a capable writer soft enough to still grow.
  2. Incorporate the smile. Though this seems like an optional ingredient, it becomes absolutely crucial later on in the recipe. The EIC will smile when you walk into the office, and smile when Mrs. Buckles asks for another page that the Board hasn't produced yet. The smile is necessary for brutally cutting us off from excessive feeds, or when she scours the internet for a non-copyrighted photo that the Photos Editor can’t find, or when she holds Saturday meetings that a surprisingly large percentage of the Board attends. It is a superpower, really, for somebody to continue holding a smile even when it’s Thursday night and everyone is panicking because we’re missing three articles, a graphic and two photos, and everything is spiraling out of control. In those moments, stressed editors do not need more pressure. In those moments, editors can swivel on their chairs to an EIC who will answer their questions, suggest quick solutions, and, most of all, smile. Whether Board members are yelling at Indesign or slapping the dysfunctional printer, or faculty advisors are banging on the door, this EIC will consistently supply necessary enthusiasm and clear thought. 
  3. Add more kindness than you think you need. As the EIC is baked through hardships of countless strenuous office hours, her kindness will shine through like a beacon in the dark and will cool into a crispy sweetness that all around her will adore. This step, like the smile, is crucial—it's that kindness that endures even after we make crucial mistakes, miscommunicate, or are simply overwhelmed by the paper, or even Lawrenceville life in general. This kindness is what makes the EIC so sweet—and what ultimately makes her a joy to work with.
  4. Whisk in good communication. The EIC must be good at communication, and she is. She’s incredible at it. Whisk and stir as fast as you can with the pace at which the EIC sends the myriad of emails needed for another issue to bless The Lawrence—keeping up with everyone on the Board throughout the week. As you slow down, you should see a web-like structure forming at the bottom of the bowl. These are the links the EIC has formed—a manifestation of her gentle, yet intelligent ability to talk with others and make sure you feel understood.
  5. Finish with a dash of sternness. While the EIC is soft and chewy, there’s a distinct sharp taste once every few bites. She knows how to balance her friendly persona with the firmness crucial to an EIC. Open to new ideas, she also understands how to keep us on time and our wild ideas in check.
  6. Once the baking is complete, sprinkle with humility and a hefty bit of star power. Even though her brain works at the speed of light, the EIC never brags about her ability (despite the fact that she has every right to). After everything has cooled, take a nice long look at your artistry, and notice how it shines without taking away from the glow of everything around it. This is the sparkle of the best type of EIC, one who leads by leaning on and uplifting others. She is the type of leader who makes you want to work harder, proud to be under her jurisdiction, proud to be a part of whatever amazing thing she is concocting.
  7. Unfortunately, like all good things, your time together must come to an end. So enjoy Claire. Enjoy her smile, be graced by her generosity, and thank her for everything she's done for this paper, and for you.