Matt Zencey

Archive for September, 2012|Monthly archive page


In Editing experience on September 20, 2012 at 8:32 pm

I’ve held five major editing positions at newspapers/news sites. Most recently, I was Deputy Opinion Editor for PennLive/The Patriot-News of Harrisburg. At the Philadelphia Inquirer I was assistant editorial page editor and a health and science editor. (More about that work here.) Before that, at the Anchorage Daily News, I had been editorial page editor and assistant editorial page editor. (More about that work here.) I have also done free-lance editing for Delaware First Media.

I have edited writers with a vast range of experience and skill, from long-time journalists to guest contributors who’d never been published before.  The articles I’ve edited have covered a variety of subjects: medicine, science, politics, complicated questions of economic policy and legal matters, and personal essays.

In general, I try to help the writer understand how effective he or she is in reaching the intended audience. Is the writing clear? Does it leave hanging questions that should be answered? Is the information reliable? Does the prose engage the reader?

My editing style is collaborative. I aim to build a relationship with the writer and help him or her produce the best possible writing. I take pride in having constructive relationships with almost every professional writer with whom I worked.

Sometimes, circumstances require “fix it” editing – where back-and-forth consultation is impractical and there’s a problem that can be fixed without major re-writing. I can do that kind of editing, and do it quickly, when necessary.

Click this link for examples of compliments I’ve received on my editing. I’m happy to provide other references upon request.


In Writing experience on September 20, 2012 at 8:18 pm

Over a 23-year journalism career, I have written thousands of editorials and commentaries, mostly at the Anchorage Daily News and more recently for PennLive/The Patriot-News of Harrisburg and the Philadelphia Inquirer. My book, “Unlikely Liberal: Sarah Palin’s Curious Record as Alaska Governor,” was published by Potomac Books in fall of 2012. (For more, see

My list of awards includes second place in column writing for the Keystone (Pa.) Press Club, the Alaska Press Club prize for Best Editorial Writing (five times), Alaska Press Club prize for Public Service (two times), and a Nieman Fellowship in Journalism at Harvard University.

Click this link for samples of my work. Click here to visit my website about the book. Click here to check it out on Amazon.

Non-profit manager

In Non-profit experience on September 20, 2012 at 8:07 pm

During a 3-year break in my journalism career, I ran the Alaska Rainforest Campaign, a coalition of groups working to improve conservation protections for Alaska’s national forests, a project administered by the Alaska Conservation Foundation. (Yes, Alaska has rainforest, along the coastline in the southeastern panhandle.) I supervised a budget of $1 million a year, a staff of three, and numerous consulting contracts. Our project succeeded in getting President Bill Clinton to include Alaska’s Tongass National Forest in his national roadless area protection policy, despite the bitter opposition of Alaska’s powerful Republican Senator Ted Stevens, and despite internal differences about tactics and goals. I had to delicately manage the diverse agendas and sometimes contentious personalities of the groups and leaders in our coalition. I succeeded by being a straight shooter, not being afraid to ask for advice, and maintaining a sense of humor.

In the late 2000s, I was volunteer president of my local Little League, supervising all aspects of operations, from recruiting coaches and umpires, maintaining fields, troubleshooting problems, and managing the budget. During my tenure, we obtained and executed a grant to install an irrigation system and new dugouts at our fields. We also doubled the annual budget by bringing in revenue from a charitable gaming partner. I learned how to deal with the challenges of recruiting volunteers and persuading them to do things.

Much earlier in my career, before entering journalism, I ran the energy department of Rural Alaska Community Action Program. Its services included weatherization, emergency fuel loans, and educational presentations about energy conservation to tiny, predominantly Native villages, located far off Alaska’s road system, where many of the impoverished residents could not afford the painfully high energy prices of the early 1980s. I oversaw a budget of approximately $1 million, mostly for weatherization, and supervised several staff members.

I will gladly provide references from my work on these projects.