The Death of the Editor

The Editor a Boss and Mentor for aspiring writers.
Student of the Gun

Biloxi, Mississippi (Ammoland) “You seem to have a problem with youtubers and bloggers. Why is that?” was a question/accusation aimed at yours truly recently.

To set the table, I do not have a blanket dislike for the use of YouTube or the ubiquitous Weblog for the distribution of information.

The Internet is a marvelous tool that we can use to disseminate a wealth of knowledge and educational material to our peers. My problem is that people with absolutely zero credentials have taken it upon themselves to dispense advice based upon nothing more than their own verve or passion for an object or grouping of objects.

Having been in the professional writing game for better than two decades now, I have had a cautious mistrust toward the massive influx of of overnight experts and, quite frankly, carpetbaggers, who have injected themselves into a field for which I have a great deal of respect and experience.

Pondering the aforementioned question, I was able to come up with what I believe is the greatest downfall and shortcoming of our Internet age; the Death of the Editor.

The Editor: A Vetting Process

Many moons ago when I began writing professionally for firearms and law enforcement periodicals, one of my editors had a strict policy for writers. “If they haven’t been in the military or worked as a cop, they don’t write for me.” It was not that every soldier or policeman was a gun expert, that was simply the baseline from which he started.

Before the time of the Internet and self-proclaimed “gun enthusiasts”, we had this vetting process called an Editor. During the age of dead tree publications, your words and photographs were not put out for public consumption until someone else edited and approved them. Again, it was not that every writer was the Elijah of firearms, but there was a process.

Read the complete article on Student of the Gun.

About the Author

Paul G. Markel became a U.S. Marine in 1987 and served his nation during times of war and peace. A law enforcement veteran, Paul was a police officer for seventeen years before becoming a full-time Small Arms and Tactics Instructor.

Markel’s written work has been printed in every major firearms publication at one time or another for the last two decades. Paul has several books in print and hosts and producesStudent of the Gun Television and Radio.

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Jeff in MS

I read a lot of magazines and not a few books. Apparently no editors today know grammar or spelling, much less the topic at hand. It’s sad. Do publishers no longer require degrees or even proficiency in English?

Grey Beard

I agree that true journalism is, and has been for many years, DEAD! As with all such statements there are a Very Few exceptions that prove the rule. Very Few! As to the position of Editor, it is also DEAD! The example of the WaPo Editor is not an appropriate analogy. The title of the Position may be Editor, but in actual fact that is Not the duty of that person. I personally believe a more apt title is Enabler. I’m just guessing, but I suspect there are some Real Editors out there, mostly working for small newspapers and magazines.… Read more »

Bob Sadtler

I would support your position Paul, except for one thing: we can NOT count on editors to be impartial anymore. When was the last time that an editor at, say, the Washington (com)Post said, “Hey, that has an anti-gun bias. Moderate the tone.” Yeah, that’ll be the day.

The editor is not dead, s/he is asleep at the switch. Actually, bought and paid for would be a better description. The tragedy is not the death of the editor, but the death of true journalism.


Galileo had a problem with ” Gate – Keepers ” of knowledge. I prefer dangerous Freedom. If people are to stupid to check their own facts , they get what they get. —- Managed information , is part of our problem these days.
Chris Wallace says an AR-15 can shoot over 500 rounds a minute , non-stop. His editor approved that lie !! Faux news strikes again.