How to be an editor

Christy Bradford, who taught me how to be an editor, died late last week at her home in Kansas City. She had been teaching journalism at the University of Kansas since 1999.

I love the description of Christy by her students at KU: “combination den mother/drill sergeant.” It was the same for us in her newsroom, a creative yet disciplined place where Christy gently demanded — and usually got — our best.

I suppose that many of us look back at a time when people, relationships, and work converged in a moment that we were meant to be a part. I had more of those moments in Detroit than I deserve, and Christy was at the heart of them. In a place as tough as a Detroit, she could find the deeper of meaning of events that became the hallmark of coverage at The Detroit News for a few extraordinary years. It was never easy, but it was always intoxicating. No one understood the ingredients of a good story more than Christy. No one had more fun stirring them into something meaningful or fun. She was a friend who taught me to be a good editor, and a editor who became a good friend.

Never sentimental, she understood that when it was time to go, it was time to go. Too soon. Too soon.

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