Bill Gottlieb, author and magazine editor

I spent 20 years as a professional journalist (writer, editor, managing editor, executive editor, VP editorial executive) at Rodale Press and the past 15 years as a freelance journalist and author.
While at Rodale, I looked at thousands of writer's resumes and hired hundreds of writers, including writers with J-school degrees. The thing that always surprised me about the J-school graduates was their lack of real-world experience; it didn't seem as if their education included much hands-on journalism.
Now, that may have changed in the past 15 years. But if I were teaching a class, I would have my students "imitate, imitate, imitate"--write articles for specific publications as if they were actually writing articles for those publications. And then the J-teacher would critique the pieces in terms of how they were or weren't a match for the voice and purpose of the respective pub.
And I would do that for a wide variety of outlets. Imitation is the way to learn. I would also have a class in ego-erasure; the worst fault of any would-be journalist is putting too high a premium on his or her words, and resisting rather than internalizing editing.
Yes, there are bad editors. But this particular fault is the hallmark of a journalist who is unlikely to grow and advance. That's my two-cents.
Bill Gottlieb is an author, freelance journalist, and book packager, specializing in health. His byline has appeared in many national publications, including _Prevention, Reader's Digest, Bottom Line/Personal, Health, Cosmopolitan, and Men's Health. His six books have sold more than 2 million copies. He is the former editor-in-chief of Rodale Books and Prevention Magazine Books (1986-1995). His website is


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