Monday, August 24, 2020

No more chalk dust on the suit

Today I notified Sara Magee, chair of the Communication Department at Loyola University Maryland, that I am giving up the editing class I have taught for twenty-five years.

 I will turn seventy in February, and the pleasure of yelling at undergraduates no longer compensates fully for the effort.


On the first day of class every semester, my efforts to Mirandize the students (see the video here) included this quotation from a student evaluation: “He is a horrible teacher. DO NOT TAKE HIM! The course is interesting but this guy is a stiff who thinks he knows it all. You will leave this class so confused and end up with a grade that definitely deserves to be better than what you actually get. Don't get me wrong, he's a funny guy but not worth it.”


Some of my more than 750 students, though, have managed rather well. Among them:

Kevin Atticks, one of my early victims, teaches at Loyola, overseeing the Apprentice House student publishing operation.


Mike Memoli, who as a member of Tribune’s Washington bureau was, to my knowledge, the only one of my former students to have flown on Air Force One with the president of the United States, is now a correspondent at NBC news.


Jon Meoli is a sports reporter at The Baltimore Sun.

Peter Blair heads the flexible editing desk at The New York Times


Eve Strilacci is an acquisitions editor at Callisto Media.


Christina Santucci is a former night photo editor at the New York Post.


Andrew Zaleski, to be found at, is building a solid career as a freelance writer.


Jenn Ladd is a food writer at The Philadelphia Inquirer.


Katie Krzaczck is an editor at Business Insider.


Lindsay VanAsdalan is a reporter at the York Dispatch.


Anyone I have overlooked is welcome to weigh in with a comment.


In time, I came to leave them on the last day of class with Chaucer’s rueful line, “The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne.”


Now it will be someone else’s job.


  1. Good for you. And I'm looking forward to next 2/10, when you do actually hit the magic number and can hang it up at The Sun as well. I have no regrets about my own recent retirement; it was the thing to do, in every way.

  2. Retirement was a good idea for me, too; enjoy yours, but please let us hear from you here from time to time. Unlike your recalcitrant students, I've always admired your work. (I retired from teaching and editing engineering writing, so I may be predjudiced.)

  3. Sympathies and congratulations.
    Here's something for your sig file:

    Ὁ βίος βραχύς, ἡ δὲ τέχνη μακρή, ὁ δὲ καιρὸς ὀξύς,
    ἡ δὲ πεῖρα σφαλερή, ἡ δὲ κρίσις χαλεπή.

    Vita brevis, ars longa, occasio praeceps,
    experimentum periculosum, iudicium difficile.

    'Life is short, art is long, opportunity is fleeting,
    experience is perilous, and judgement is difficult.'
    -- Hippocrates

  4. Your class remains my most memorable. I recall my introduction to you, as I began my new position as copy editor of the school paper. "I *love* The Greyhound! It gives me such wonderful material for this class," you chortled. "Imagine my surprise, when I made it to the *third page* before finding an error."
    I have never felt so validated. Enjoy your time, Mr McIntyre; you've earned it.
    -- Elizabeth (Walker) Morrison

  5. And you remain one of my most memorable students, because you immediately grasped what we were trying to do and steadily built on what you already knew.

  6. Have you considered a second suit?

  7. A friend who knows I write tagged me to watch your trigger warning video. Although I am within days the same age, I thought I might look into taking your class. Too bad (for me) that you're not planning to offer it again. My blog is It will be the worse for not having better editing. When I was a community opinion writer for the Dallas Morning News, the best part was having an editor. But on I go...Thank you.

  8. Congratulations to you, Mr. McIntyre, and my sympathies for future Loyola students. I will never forget your class - not because you so kindly pointed out all of the typos in The Greyhound - but because of passion with which you taught. Thank you for helping me to become better journalist.

  9. Oh my goodness, I just came across this while googling myself for some old articles. I don’t remember if I saw it at the time, but I’m honored to be a part of this list! I think I remember you reading that student evaluation to us, and I disagree slightly. You were a funny guy but totally worth it. Thanks for the laughs and the crash course in all things editing. I’m still learning and hope to continue. Best of luck in your future endeavors!