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John B. OakesJohn B. Oakes
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than one. The suggestions come from either or both sides, and it's simply worked out in a very brief conversation.

The editorial writer, the staff member, goes back to his office, writes the piece, and toward the end of the afternoon brings it back to the editor of the editorial page, who then reads and edits it and sends it down to the composing room. There is no, as you see from this, general editorial conference. This is all done a deux, so to speak. It's done in a private conversation in the morning between the executive and the editorial writer individually.

As far as I know, we're the only newspaper that operates this way.

We did have what was called an editorial conference once a week for many years, but in the first place that editorial conference practically never-and I mean literally almost never- discussed editorials. It was a conference which was attended by the publisher and two or three of the top executives, plus the Editorial Board-that is the Managing Editor, the Sunday Editor, and so on-and just matters of interest to the New York Times or matters of general interest were discussed, almost never editorial matters.

These weekly conferences became less and less frequent and finally they disappeared altogether, practically altogether. When I came in I thought I would revive the conference method and make it actually an editorial conference, which, as far as I know, it never had been, certainly not in my experience. But I found quite quickly that the method Mr. Merz used really was the most efficient method for a staff as large as ours, that is, to discuss individually with the individual editors what they were going to write about that day.

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