The Editor as a Businessman

The Editor as a Businessman

Friday, September 22, 2017 12:12 pm

Chooks Oko

By Chooks Oko

Ladies and Gentlemen, distinguished colleagues, it is a great honour and privilege to be standing before you to throw some thoughts around on THE EDITOR AS A BUSINESSMAN. One of the immediate confusions I had when I was asked to speak on this topic few days ago was where to take it from. How do you dissect the whole from the being or the being from the whole? How do you separate the mouth from the stomach or the stomach from the mouth? Thus I shall be throwing it back to all of us. I now ask, is the Editor a Businessman? Is he not? While you might be quick to choose an easy option, I urge you to pause and ponder this more deeply before you answer. For the purposes of this discourse, we shall be looking at the Editor who is fully in charge of his media outfit and those likely to assume that responsibility tomorrow in any form of media. Let us look at some basics.

The Editor

Who is an Editor? Of course I do know that everybody in this hall is here because we all lay claim to the title, but who are you? Supposedly? says

A person having managerial and sometimes policy making responsibility related to the writing, compilation, and revision of content for a publishing (broadcasting) firm or for a newspaper, magazine, or other publication (Radio/Television).

We don’t need to think much to agree with this definition but arising from it are the basic traits nay roles of an Editor viz:


Policy making




These are broad areas but covers the basics of the Editor job.


The Editor manages human and material resources to get the best out of them for the optimal benefit of his organisation. He worries about deadlines, worries about welfare, worries about production material, logistics of circulation, revenue from sundry sources and the dynamics of mixing all these together to get the best results. Thus he worries on how he will turn the raw materials available to him in human and material forms to the greatest advantage of his organisation. How successful he gets at it either ups or lowers his rating as a good manager.


The Editor works with the top brass of his organisation to formulate policies for running the shop. Again, the effectiveness or otherwise of the policies they formulate will define their existence in the marketplace.


The primary role of Editors, of course, is writing. It is the quality or otherwise of his own writing that will determine how he moulds the writers and reporters under him. That is probably what Dawn Rosenberg Mackay, an American career planner had in mind when she posited that ” Editors need strong writing, interpersonal , listening and speaking skills”. These will no doubt distinguish Editors from Editors.

Editors at the the conference


This is the packaging of the product over which the Editor superintends. Again his personality will reflect in the final product that comes from his stable.


The last part of the Editor’s job is a revision, a final look at his product before it gets to the market.

If we all agree, we have successfully X-rayed and situated our colleague, the ideal Editor who is at the pinnacle of his career having gone through the rungs and now berthed at the corridors of executive managerial position where his actions and inactions will point his organisation on the way they must go.

The Businessman

Merriam-Webster Dictionary says a Businessman is

A man who works in business especially in a high position. A Man who is good at dealing with business and financial matters; a man in business especially as an owner or a manager. says

Businessmen are often associated with white collar jobs. In order to avoid sexism or the perpetuation of stereotypes, the term is often replaced with BUSINESSPERSON.

Wikipedia goes another way

No rigid or formal educational qualification requirements can be stated for becoming a businessperson. However, there are certain attributes that successful businessmen must possess: tact financial and business savvy, courage, leadership, vision, creativity, imagination, and organising ability.

Now, are we noticing something? Almost all the qualities of the Editor are paraphrased as same qualities of a businessman. These include:


If the organisation must run, the Editor needs to know a bit about how to manage and generate finances. He has to have his eyes, ears and intellect in the business side of the organisation. How to make money, keep money, make the money bring in more money, deploy money strategically and generally run a profitable business.


Just as the Editor needs courage to carry truthful stories no matter whose ox is gored, so does the businessman need courage to take bold money making decisions. In this case again, the Editor deploys courage in both situations as he needs to also make some bold financial decisions that require courage.


We already discussed how the Editor manages human and material resources, he also leads by example so as to get the job done.


The ability of the Editor to carry stories that draw or distance the audience from his medium is one of the key tools he possesses. In the business aspect of his organisation, just like in formulating policies, he plans policies that will put his organisation on the road to their desired end.


These are the hallmarks of a good Editor.

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