Editor & Publisher

Seth Effron

Opinion Editor, Capitol Broadcasting Company, Raleigh, North Carolina

First job in news:

I was the assistant to the editor (Roy Parker Jr.) at The Fayetteville (NC) Times in June 1974.

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned while working in news?

• The best story is the next story you’ll

work on.

• You work, first, for the readers/


• Make sure your bosses know you’re willing to do and try anything. Exceeding expectations on crappy assignments or tasks leads to more good ones.

• Don’t overlook the voices, people and

issues others ignore. You’ll learn a lot. • Be comfortable being uncomfortable.

Embrace change.

• Working harder can (usually)

overcome disabilities and deficiencies. • Avoid workplaces that tell you,

“We don’t do it that way here.” • Working with good people (including competitors) and paying attention to what they do well and how they do it will improve your work.

• Work and family are not necessarily

in opposition.

• Thank the people who help you.

Not necessarily news industryrelated: My father ran a family-owned children’s clothing store on Main Street } in a small city. A local news reporter once asked him who his most important customers were when doing a story on Main Street businesses. He responded it wasn’t the wealthiest, most prominent or regular customer. My father said: “The next customer that comes through the door.” Every customer was critical to my father’s business and was treated as the most important patron. That was a good lesson for me as I’ve dealt with a broad spectrum of news sources — none is more or less important than another. All are critical to doing the job well.

When you reflect on your career to date, what brings you the greatest sense of accomplishment?

Having the willingness to do the untested, untried and unusual. Be willing to listen, absorb and filter criticism and advice. Address mistakes and failures. Acknowledge them. It provides the chance to tackle unusual assignments and subjects. It gave me the gumption to quit a news reporting job I enjoyed to launch one of the earliest successful online news ventures — opening up a variety of interesting opportunities as my career developed. Even more significantly, it paved the way for others to develop alternative news ventures.

What are your predictions for where news publishing/news media is heading?

Local broadcast news organizations should be looking closely at the demise of local print news operations in their communities. Maintaining and enhancing revenue models and avoiding the changes that struck print news are critical to not just keeping but expanding local news coverage. Local independent news organizations are key to a community’s vitality and sustainability. It will determine whether a community becomes a news desert or a news oasis. A vital locallybased news organization is also an essential ingredient to a community’s prosperity.

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Editor and Publisher