Monday, September 19, 2011

Charles Oberdorf, Mentor Extraordinaire

There is no greater boost to a newbie editor's confidence than an encouraging word from a more experienced magaziner. On several occasions, Charles Oberdorf – editor, writer and teacher, who sadly died this past Friday – had provided me with just such a boost.

I am one of the many students who have taken Charles' Magazine Editing class at Ryerson Univerity's Chang School of Continuing Education. It was a great class and I learned a lot, but Charles' friendship was by far the best thing I got out of it.

Twice, Charles wrote me reference letters that I have since gone back to read each time I apply to a new job or retool my resumé. At one time he told me he was "a fan" of mine. To know that I had a brilliant editor in my corner rooting for me, made me believe in my abilities as an editor when I was just starting out. I stopped second-guessing myself and learned that I could go to bat with the pros – that I am a pro.

There are others in this industry who knew Charles much better than I, but judging by the comments on D.B. Scott's Canadian Magazines blog, my experience is common – Charles often took the time to mentor new editors. I will always be thankful that I was one of the ones fortunate enough to receive some of that encouragement and support.

Charles, you will be missed.

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