Impressively Invisible

Madison Trammel disappears in his writing.
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"Salem's headquarters building is nondescript," associate editor Madison Trammel told me recently. "It's in small-town Camarillo (as "small town" as you get in Southern California, at least), not in Hollywood or downtown Los Angeles, and its sign is invisible from the street. It looks more 1970s office park than Wall Street player. All in all, an unimpressive building. But the brisk, friendly professionalism of the staff, once I got inside, was impressive."

At the risk of insulting our esteemed colleague, this seems like a fair description of Madison, who wrote this issue's cover story on Salem Communications (see "Making Airwaves," p. 26). I wouldn't say his appearance is nondescript—he's as good looking as the next CT editor (okay, that's not saying much). But Madison has a way of making himself impressively invisible.

One of his main tasks at CT is copyediting, a thankless job in our business. Madison is charged with finding mistakes the rest of us overlook. His work is noticed, therefore, only when he fails to catch a mistake of punctuation, spelling, or grammar. When he does his job well, no one notices him. Fortunately, he is noticed very little. Invisible.

But Madison also writes, and the Salem story is his first major piece for CT— in other words, an opportunity you'd think a humble copyeditor would want to exploit. Enough of this hiding behind the writing of others; it's time for a little self-expression! But Madison's writing never points to himself. There are no clever phrases that say, "Hey, look at my prose!" or rhetorical flourishes that suggest, "This article was brought to you by my creative genius." There is only clear, concise, engaging prose—writing that makes the reader think not about the ...

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