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Fiona Luis, DJNF/Temple 1985, is the assistant managing editor for features at The Boston Globe, where she has worked for almost 22 years.

The Dow Jones Newspaper Fund editing program instilled in me an
important — I would argue almost crucial–work ethic.

It’s been 23-and-a-half years since I arrived in Philadelphia for the
training blitz; while my memories of that time are a little fuzzy, the
underlying message is not: respect the process. At Temple, our diverse
group — there was a pre-law student, a teacher-in-the-making, a future
broadcaster, reporters, editors — was taught everything, from the basics
of editing deadline copy to headline counts to photo sizing to comp-room
etiquette (yes, I’m truly dating myself). While some of these practices are
irrevocably extinct now, the lessons are not. When you respect the process,
you respect the people who populate it.

At the Globe, where I’ve worked for almost 22 years, I’ve done my
best to live by that rule, whether I was editing foreign-correspondents’
copy and regional breaking news on the night desk or Sunday magazine
features or Food section material or a Living series examining the impact
of the clergy sex abuse scandal on parishes and parishioners. It’s a bit
cliched, but as such adages go, true as well. We are all connected, and if
we only manage up, the foundation weakens. So, as I’ve moved from the night
desk to Assistant Managing Editor for Features during my tenure at the
paper, I’ve tried to strive for excellence in many ways: working hard,
learning from everyone around you, always aspiring to do better, being a
good colleague and a supportive boss.

I think it’s important (this is the advice portion of the program) to
steer clear of imperiousness: if you are entering journalism now, you
should make like a sponge, and absorb. The fundamentals of print. The
somewhat different rules of broadcast. The scope of the digital revolution.
The speed of change has seemed accelerated when it comes to journalism’s
evolution, and it’s more crucial than ever to be nimble these days.

At the Globe, as at so many other fine newspapers around the country,
we have had to adapt and evolve and reinvent in times of shrinking
circulation and ad revenues. Our goal is to become an integrated news
operation, one that not just survives but thrives in the new media
landscape. Even as we zip into this future, I find myself going back to the
basics: Respect the process and the people. It applies to many scenarios,
and it helps you reset your heading for 21st-century journalism. It helps
you stay relevant. And it will help you become part of the solution in this
industry that we all love.


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