Professional Editing

Who We Are

           Building on careers as national-award-winning editors, executives, and writers at major newspapers and magazines, we have established "Professional Editing," a service for writers and people with important stories to tell. We have now retired from demanding executive positions.  We have turned our energies, experiences, and imaginations to enabling independent clients to conceive and complete books and sometimes smaller-form works that are important to them, to their families and friends or colleagues, and, we endeavor, to a larger public audience.

            A hallmark of our credentials is having discovered, mentored, and promoted talented people who are currently prominent writers and editors, as well as guiding and finely editing books.

  Rosalie Muller Wright Pakenham was Editor in Chief and Vice President of Sunset Magazine from 1996 to 2001. Before joining Sunset, she had been for 15 years Assistant Managing Editor of Features of the San Francisco Chronicle, overseeing ten daily and Sunday sections.

Prior to the Chronicle, Ms. Pakenham was Executive Editor of New West Magazine, which won a National Magazine Award and a Society of Professional Journalists award for her assigning and editing the expose of the deadly Firestone 500 tire, resulting in the recall of 1 million tires. She was also the editor who assigned and edited the first story that exposed Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple cult 16 months before the massacre of more than 900 people in Guyana in 1978.

She started her career as Managing Editor of Suburban Life Magazine in New Jersey while still a full-time student. After graduating with honors in English at Temple University, she served for six years as Managing Editor of Philadelphia Magazine, then the most influential city magazine in the country. She then became founding editor of Womensports Magazine for Billie Jean and Larry King. That magazine, the precursor of a flock of women's sports magazines, under her guidance won a Penny Missouri Excellence Award before it was purchased by Conde Nast.

Under her leadership, Sunset won an unprecedented 15 Maggie Awards, which are presented by the Western Publications Association to honor publishing excellence. She was inducted into the Features Hall of Fame of the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors in 1999.  She was president of that organization in 1987.  In the course of her distinguished career, she has conceived, managed, edited, and polished hundreds of authoritative articles and series of articles. She has written widely on food – including recipe development – and on travel and the arts.  She also has edited more than a dozen books on a consulting basis.

  Michael Pakenham (1932-2018) retired in 2005 from an encyclopedic, more than 40-year career in journalism.  He spent the previous ten years as Books Editor and literary columnist for the Baltimore Sun.  There he surveyed the U.S. literary market, assigning and editing more than 2,500 reviews and forceful essays for the Sun and other subscribing newspapers, and writing some 500 columns and articles on books, authors, and publishing.

Before that, he was an Executive Editor, Editorial Page Editor, Associate Editor, Assistant Managing Editor, Foreign Editor, reporter, and columnist at the Chicago Tribune, the New York Herald-Tribune, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the New York Daily News, the Sunday Correspondent (a British national weekly newspaper), and SPIN magazine. As reporter and as an editorialist, he interviewed and profiled or endorsed seven U.S. Presidents and hundreds of other prominent national and international leaders.  He began his career as a criminal and civil courts reporter in Chicago, a political reporter, and Washington correspondent, including covering the Kennedy and Johnson White House.

Educated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Columbia University, Pakenham has guided hundreds of investigative and explanatory articles and series of articles in those publications and beyond. He has privately counseled and edited more than two dozen colleagues in developing books, many of which have been of immense importance and success.

   His reporting, editorials, and columns have been recognized: The Pulitzer Prize Gold Medal for Public Service, 1977, was awarded to The Inquirer for his work and that of four others for a campaign on police violence.  He received the Scripps-Howard Foundation's Walker Stone award, its highest national honor for editorial writing, twice. He has received the National Sigma Delta Chi Award for distinguished editorial writing and more than a dozen regional professional journalism awards in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York.

   He has served as juror and judge on innumerable national and regional journalism and literary competitions, including several times for the Pulitzer Prize.  He has been a judge of the International Association of Culinary Professionals' annual book awards program. From 1972 through 1984, in addition to his writing and editing the Inquirer’s Editorial and Op-ed pages, he wrote a weekly column, “Michael Pakenham on Wine,” which was published in the Inquirer and other clients of the Knight-Ridder newswire.