Ed Henninger: Who’s Your Friend?

I’m a friendly guy. Most people who know me genuinely like me…and I like them..

I can be a strong friend. I can stand by you when you need me to. I can help you when you’ve got a problem. I can just be there by your side when you need support.

But…I can also choose to not be your friend if I think it matters.

So, let me get this out there briefly and clearly: I am not a friend of writers…or designers.

I am not here to be your friend.

I am here to remind you that it is your job to be a friend to the reader.

So…to writers:

  • Don’t tell me you don’t have time to do an outline on a complex story.
  • Don’t tell me you have to write long to tell the full story.
  • Don’t tell me you don’t have time to get quotes.
  • Don’t tell me news story writing cramps your style.
  • Don’t tell me you’re in the business of writing.
  • Don’t tell me you don’t have time to improve your craft.
  • Don’t tell me you missed deadline…again.
  • And for you designers…
  • Don’t tell me you don’t have time to plan.
  • Don’t tell me you never get enough space to do a good design.
  • Don’t tell me you don’t have time to communicate with writers.
  • Don’t tell me you don’t have time to create infoboxes.
  • Don’t tell me you have to run photos too small so you can fit them in with overwritten stories.
  • Don’t tell me you don’t have time to study up on typography. And color. And page structure. And spacing.
  • Don’t tell me you missed deadline…again.

If you tell me any of these things…well…I’ll still be your friend. But then, I’ll give you that virtual kick in the pants to remind you that you can do better. And I’ll help you do better…if you’ll let me.

That’s what friends are for.

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