Recently, a letter writer accused me of being myopic. That got me thinking not only about the contention of the letter writer that I am short-sighted in my view of all things HUSD, but about my shortcomings as an editor in general.

If the gods of newspapers created the ultimate editor, sort of a Zeus of Print, he or she probably wouldn't look, write or think like me. I'm no Ben Bradlee, but I have qualities that, hopefully, serve our readers well.

While the typical editor tends to see things in black and white and quickly sizes up a story pitch - "Yes, that's a story. No, that's not a story. Period." - I tend to see the merits of many story ideas. I just wish we had a news staff of more than two, a reporter and an editor/reporter, to see that everything newsworthy got onto our pages.

Newsrooms are usually cluttered with papers, documents, notepads and occasional soda cans. Conversely, editor's desks are often organized and tidy. I maintain a reporter-style work surface.

That sense of organization - or admitted lack of - creeps into how I construct a weekly newspaper. Judy Pinckney, one of the most talented, ethical and capable editors I've worked with, always maintained a "run list" on a yellow legal notepad. Great idea. Smart organizational tool. But I prefer to draw outside the lines. As the week unfolds, I write notes on the side of my InDesign page as I create the week's newspaper on my Mac. The Hesperia Star emerges like a sculpture from a raw piece of clay. For me, editing a newspaper is more art than science.

Have I made mistakes? Is the president from Texas?

An editor's mistakes usually fall into two basic categories: 1) organizational (see above), and 2) judgment. While I can't attest to batting 1,000 on the latter, I spend a lot of time and effort dwelling on what I sincerely believe is best for the Hesperia Star and its readers. All in all, I believe I've done a good job on those difficult judgment issues. It sure can be harder than it looks.

Oh, but I have regrets.

A while back, a HUSD teacher came into our office with an anonymous letter he'd written criticizing the former board's decision to hire Deb Baker as the district's public information officer to the tune of around $75,000, which is higher than even the most experienced teachers make. (A typical weekly newspaper editor makes less than a first-year teacher, so I am clearly aware that Baker's salary was a lot of money.) As I've noted earlier, within Baker's first weeks she quickly proved to be one of the most effective PIO's in the Victor Valley, at least in terms of identifying and developing stories about positive things in Hesperia classrooms.

Knowing that newspaper management frowns on running anonymous letters, I chose not to run the letter. Looking back on it, I regret not calling the letter writer to discuss the situation further. Perhaps he would have reconsidered and allowed his name to be used, or maybe another teacher could have stepped forward with another submission.

Do I have other regrets? Am I myopic? Am I lacking in organizational skills? Will I continue to make occasional mistakes? Am I an imperfect editor?

I'm sorry to inform you, but that story was written a long time ago.