Favorite Things

It’s one of my favorite things to do at work, and it only comes once a month. And sometimes, a month even has to be skipped. But when it comes, I sure do enjoy it. Am I talking about our monthly “ice cream days” in the summer? Or the picnics on the patio? Oh no, I am talking about something that’s even more fun for me.

I totally and thoroughly enjoy our monthly editor’s meeting. Led every 30 days or so by our vice president of editorial Tara Taffera, these meetings bring together the entire editorial staff to discuss the proverbial good, bad and ugly—but ultimately, to learn. We train constantly, and one team member often shares what they learned at a recent seminar. (Kudos, by the way, to Nick St. Denis and Casey Flores, who gave an awesome presentation on data collection at our June meeting last week.)

We also go over things that worked well and didn’t work as well as we’d like, and we look at things we’ve seen in other publications that we’ve liked. Casey Flores recently worked with our art department to channel Inc. magazine on the cover of our Window Film magazine. Please see what you think. And we also have fun little awards for the best headline we’ve seen. Small trivial fact for you: there was a contest for the best headline of the century about 10 years ago, and the heavyweight of headlines, the New York Post, won with its classic “Headless Body Found in Topless Bar.” I mean, how are you going to NOT read that article?

Anyway, a few meetings ago it was my turn to conduct some in-service training, and I wanted to focus on how companies release their financial results and then, as good companies will do, highlight the parts of them that are encouraging. This “positive spin” can be put on even the most meager financial results, and a good editor will know how to dig beyond the spin into the real story.

In order to illustrate this, I created two contract glazier companies: Acme Company and Zenith Company, and provided three years’ worth of very basic financial results for each. I covered each with a note. On Acme’s, I noted that the poor company was having a tough time and that its sales had slipped a lot in three years. Zenith, however, was soaring on increased profitability during the past three years.

We had three teams of editors, and each was assigned to write a story about the financial results of their company. You may have guessed the rub by now; the financial reports provided were exactly the same for both Acme and Zenith. It was just the “spin” that was different.

Our astute team discovered this as soon as they started comparing results at the meeting, but it was a good exercise for them. How each team covered the results was interesting, as well. You can see it here:

Team A: Reaching Zenith: By re-Focusing One Company Finds New Opportunities

Team B: Acme Glass Shows Profit Despite Sagging Curtainwall Income

Team C:  Sector-Focused Budgeting, Administrative Cuts Steer Acme from Catastrophe

It was really fun to see the three different stories, all about the very same thing. Since we love to give prizes for this sort of thing, I had promised a prize for the “best” story, and I really couldn’t decide. So I am going to ask your help. Please vote for the best story here, and the winning team will be announced in a future blog—and win a prize.

Please vote for only one and only once:

Which story was the best?

Team A: Reaching Zenith: By re-Focusing One Company Finds New Opportunities
Team B: Acme Glass Shows Profit Despite Sagging Curtainwall Income
Team C: Sector-Focused Budgeting, Administrative Cuts Steer Acme from Catastrophe

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Thanks for your help!

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