These are some of the principles I learnt from working with Dr Michael O'Donnell, editor of World Medicine. I wrote them as a tribute to him.
1. To make a publication look effortless takes effort.
2. Hire people you like having lunch with.
3. Be courageous – and courteous.
4. Give your writers space to make mistakes.
5. Regard complaints as an opportunity.
6. Encourage your readers to write – and spend time helping them to do so.
7. Audience surveys do not measure the soul of a publication.
8. Spend as much of your publisher’s money as you can on improving their product.
9. A well-turned phrase beats an angry rant.
10. Enjoy yourselves. If you don’t your readers won’t.
And a bonus one from Geoff Watts, a fellow World Medicine alumnus:
11. You can be serious without being solemn.
Adapted with permission from The Writer, the Society of Medical Writers, Volume 18 No 1, August 2019.
Dr Michael O'Donnell was a doctor, writer and broadcaster. I worked with him when he was Editor of World Medicine.