Charles Peters

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What's your favorite bit of editing advice from Charlie?

T.A. Frank
One I often think of--and have used--is this: "You've got to know who you're rootin' for." It doesn't apply to every story, of course, but it applies to a hell of a lot of them, especially when it comes to stories about things that divide people in Washington.
Timothy Noah
If I can extend this question to the Monthly family, there's a piece of advice I once received from Nick Lemann while I was working at the Monthly that I've never forgotten, and often repeat to others. I was struggling with a story and Nick asked me how it was going and I said, "I think I've got writer's block." Nick said: "I don't believe there is such a thing in journalism as writer's block. When you think you've got writer's block that just means you haven't done enough reporting. Once you've done enough reporting to know what there is to say the story will flow right out of you." He was right.
Timothy Noah
I wouldn't say it was my favorite, but anyway the most memorable. It began, "I'm going to tell you something people used to say about Elliot Richardson" and right away I knew things were going in a bad direction. "You have an instinct," he said, "for the capillaries." Later I repeated that to Mickey Kaus and he laughed and said, "Yeah, but you really beat the crap out of those capillaries."
Michelle Cottle
It was reporting advice, actually: Never be afraid to ask a stupid question.