The Need for Editorial Strategy

Pritpal S Tamber

May 31, 2018

Whether foundations truly understand the importance of content and editorial strategy as a way to grow a field of practice

Yesterday, I drafted something for a funder who’s expressed interest in our work but asked some (good) clarifying questions. In so doing, I got a little closer to what I think is really missing in the space we’re trying to organise – an authoritative voice.

My view is that there is already a lot of practice based on parity, trust and an equal voice for all, but it’s too dependent on the blood, sweat and tears of a few highly committed people. When those people burn out, the projects die.

To avoid that, they need to be properly resourced. And what would help them is if they could reference something broader than their own work, something that harnesses the knowledge from across the whole field of practice.

I shared that view in a five-part response to a tweet from Julian Corner, CEO of the Lankelly Chase Foundation in which he shared his view (in a blog post) on working with complexity. In the post, he essentially says that relationships are what matters but also shares that he’s not sure how that ‘scales’.

For me, it scales through followership and fellowship, both of which can be generated through an editorial strategy. In other words, a purposeful, narrative voice.

I’ve also just got off the phone with an awesome social innovator based in California whose done work in Nicaragua. Her background is in journalism and we agreed that the issue is not a lack of good work, it’s the fact that it’s not written about adequately – by which we meant with a view to followership so that new approaches can be followed by others (or ‘scale’).

I’m not sure if foundations really understand the need for editorial strategies to grow a field of practice. It’s a well-trodden (and very effective) approach in other scientific disciplines so why not the one anchored in parity, trust, and an equal voice for all?

Pritpal S Tamber

I’m a doctor who trained as a medical editor and publisher and now researches and consults on the link between community power and health equity. My interest in community power started when I was the Physician Editor of TEDMED and is explained in My Perspective. I also work as a freelance medical editor and publisher for organisations that want to write high-quality articles and a strategy for their publishing and promotion. Find out more on my About page.

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