John Robinson, an editor for all platforms

November 2, 2011

Contrary to published reports, Steve Jobs was not the last American who knew what the f he was doing. One of the last, for sure. But there are still a few others out there. One of them is John Robinson, an editor whose intuition


for audience serves his many audiences – readers and insiders, print and digital, blogosphere and Twitterverse, mass media and interpersonal – so well. 

Which is why I trust John knows what he’s doing by stepping down after 13 years as editor of the Greensboro, N.C., News & Record

While I worked (well) under John as a life desk intern, like so many, I got to know him working together online as we all scramble to figure out what’s next for this great profession of ours.

With a 24-hour news publication to edit, he took time to edit my website, and direct message me about a spelling error on its homepage. Embarrassingly, the mistake had been up for weeks. I’m sure others saw it. But John was the only one who said anything.

Despite my sloppiness, John publicly supported my application for my current job. Just as I was added to The Sun’s phone directory, John laughed with me over Twitter on how, coincidentally, I had just been removed from the News & Record’s – some seven years after my summer internship expired.

Another journalist who has a clue what he’s doing, Steve Buttry, as he tends to do, summed it up well.

This is an editor who had an impact in his community, his newsroom and the profession. I know him best from social media and his blog (we just met that one time last year), but I feel that I know him well. And I don’t know of an editor who better mixes strong values, good humor and curiosity.

On what’s next, in his resignation, John only shares what, really, should be next for anyone in the biz nowadays: “It’s time for me to contribute to this community in new ways.”

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