Rob Collins

I can say more with less.

My Hayes Elementary fifth-grade teacher said so. Eva McClanahan, who once witnessed the Dust Bowl on a farm north of Drummond, told my parents I could say a lot with a few words.

It’s true.

Inspired by Kurt Vonnegut as an Enid High School student, I wrote poetry and stream-of-consciousness stuff in a journal. One classmate teased me for wanting to be “a philosopher.”

I had a bumpy beginning writing at the University of Oklahoma. Going over a bad paper grade, my freshman English teacher at OU told me I wrote like Franz Kafka, author of “The Metamorphosis.” Being half-Czech, I took that as a compliment.

My economical word usage wasn’t good for filling blue books, but it sure helped with journalism. I found my groove writing at the OU Daily and never looked back.

Honestly, the profound impact of this profession can be a humbling thing. Young reporters with fire in the belly want to effect change like a sledgehammer. The slightest word can cause a ripple effect to shine light like a beacon in the darkness.

In our polarized country, the vocal opposition is at each other’s throats. Documenting the day-to-day culture war on the frontlines, we sometimes get hit by friendly fire.

Having seen “A Bug’s Life,” I already knew the first rule of leadership: “Everything is your fault.”

After years of reporting, I became an editor. I learned to dial down my internal monologue to become a better leader.

As a manager, I admit I use a controversial technique to steer my staff clear of pitfalls.

It’s a device despised by some editors, deemed as a pariah to the profession. This causes some writers to fear using them.

I’m talking about acronyms. I like to use the abbreviated first letters of a term to signify greater meaning.

I use an acronym as a mnemonic device to remember tricks of the trade. After all, I have limited hard drive space.

Here are some of my favorites:

• CLM: My first daily reporting job in the real world was at The Norman Transcript in the 1990s. Then-Editor Andy Rieger introduced me to CLM, which means “Career Limiting Move.” A CLM is a really bad thing an employee does that limits opportunities for professional advancement. I can’t think of any specific CLMs during my first stint with The Transcript, but I do remember being called a YUPPIE, or “Young Upwardly Mobile Professional.” GAC (“Guilty as Charged.”)

• DYJ: This one is refreshingly simple. It stands for “Do Your Job.” My wife often heard this sage advice from a former boss. It is akin to MYOB (“Mind Your Own Business”) and SIYL (“Stay in Your Lane”), which can be followed by the optional “bro.”

• A2B: I’m not sure if this is even an acronym, but it means to go directly to the source of a problem. If you have an issue with someone, go directly to that person. Don’t go to their boss. Don’t go to their friend. Don’t go to their enemy. Go A to B, not A to C.

Now that you are full of alphabet soup, I will get back to dialing down my internal monologue to avoid a potential CLM. Here endeth the lessen.

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Collins is executive editor of the Enid News & Eagle.

•• The News & Eagle has traditionally published personal opinions of writers and readers through editorials, columns and letters to the editor on its Opinion Page. The opinions shared are those of the writers and not the newspaper.

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