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Member spotlight: Matthew Knopp, editor, Tablets & Capsules

By Holly Eamon, MSP-C

Following his family’s “genetic affinity for the mechanical,” Matthew Knopp has spent the majority of his career editing and writing technical content. Many of those years—split between working for Honeywell, becoming an accomplished world traveler and starting his own newsletter on e-coating, a finishing technology—were spent editing multiple magazines at CSC Publishing, where he has served as editor of Tablets & Capsules since its 2003 launch.

What is the most challenging part of your job? Time management: juggling projects, filling all of the channels we have to fill these days, etc.

What MMPA offerings have been especially helpful? The Summits. I like hearing what other people are doing and how people with different responsibilities are talking about magazines and content.

What is the most useful career advice you've received? Write the “zero draft,” which might entail writing like a first grader, and learn how to edit so you don’t waste people’s time. Don’t be a showoff.

What do you enjoy most about your job? Meeting new people and finding out about their work and why they enjoy it.

What is your favorite periodical to read? I don’t like picking favorites, but I used to enjoy Forbes magazine when Bob Michaels edited it. I still read the dead tree version of The Wall Street Journal and a lot of industry publications. Whatever I read must do reporting and have a staff of news gatherers. Why pick it up if you can read the content somewhere else?

What skills are most important for success as an editor? If you don’t already know the subject matter well, be a quick study and connect the dots. Understand your readers and do some homework before conducting an interview. In my position, I have to have a certain level of humility because I’ve never manufactured a tablet or filled a capsule. “Strunk and White” is still the best book for beginning editors and writers. If you want to know how editors work, try “The Accidental Life: An Editor's Notes on Writing and Writers” by Terry McDonell and “Max Perkins: Editor of Genius” by A. Scott Berg.

What skill would you most like to improve? Making small talk.

What are your hobbies outside of work? Construction/renovation, working with natural stone and ceramic tile, traveling.

If you didn't have to work, what would you be doing? Building water gardens, greenhouses and natural-stone landscapes.