We Are The Doe.

The Doe is a digital publication sharing anonymous narratives to promote civil discourse.

Follow Us

A Day in the Life of Doe Worker Jake Kring-Schreifels

The Doe Team

by The Doe Team

| March 3, 2022

The Doe’s Senior Editor Jake Kring-Schreifels takes you behind the scenes of the editorial process.

Recently, while editing a narrative for The Doe, I became overwhelmed with emotion. One of our authors had sent in a draft detailing the painful memories of her divorce and the way it impacted her relationship with her mother-in-law. This author had lost her own mother at 24 years old, and her husband’s mom had become a supportive and comforting surrogate throughout their marriage. And then, understandably, things changed.

Throughout the author’s messy split, she couldn’t confide in the woman who had helped her give birth to two children, took her on special vacations and treated her to weekly lunches. No longer legally bound to her, the author felt betrayed when her mother-in-law took her son’s side during custody battles. What had once been such a tight-knit and intimate connection had effectively dissolved when lines needed to be drawn. It’s a challenging read, filled with some heartbreaking scenes and a hopeful resolution, and I couldn’t help but feel moved.

Now, I’m not married, and I’ve never gone through a divorce, but this personal essay—the kind that I sort through on a daily basis as a senior editor at The Doe—is the clearest example that specificity can be the most powerful way to relay feelings of universality. It’s what this publication does best and why each day has the potential to take me in a new direction. Every time I open up a Google Doc from my inbox, regardless of the narrative’s topic or an author’s identity, I often find some form of shared experience and emotion, connecting me with a writer I’ve never met before.

What Does a Senior Editor Do?

1-Mar-22-2022-11-12-28-62-PM

That’s a long windup to describe the pleasures of working for The Doe and the impact of sifting through narratives each day over my first 16 months here. In my previous ventures, I worked as a writer and reporter in the sports industry, traveling across the country reporting on football and baseball teams. Using my journalism degree from Fordham University, I gained valuable tools and experiences covering professional athletes, writing on deadline and learning the ins and outs of major franchises. Throughout that time, I also began writing and reporting about pop culture, interviewing filmmakers and actors about movies and television, something I continue to this day to satisfy my writerly itch.

Working with so many different editors and learning from other writers and reporters at a variety of publications has given me greater perspective and context to being a full-time editor at The Doe. Generally, each day here consists of emailing authors, checking in with editors about story ideas, sorting through incoming pitches and inputting the next batch of narratives into our content system. But a lot of my job is reading and tweaking—language, phrasing, punctuation—and then rereading and then tweaking some more, trying to help our authors’ arguments and anecdotes obtain the clarity and punch that will keep a reader hooked while still maintaining their voice and accuracy. The first draft is always a starting point, an opportunity for dialogue and a way to determine what’s important.

A Look at the Editing Process

As a younger writer, I learned a lot about how to frame an argument, when to drop in a “nut graf” and how to give a story direction. Because there are a lot of first-time writers at The Doe, I’m now in a position to relay some of these lessons and help refine narratives that are missing that extra something or have buried their best sentence too far down the page. Whenever I can, I try my best to explain the changes I make and the requests I have, with the knowledge that seeing critiques of your own work is never an easy feeling. In emailing back and forth with writers, the goal is to encourage their efforts and challenge them to make their personal essays even stronger. I love seeing it all come together. 

In a lot of ways, the editing process is like the mission of The Doe. It’s about communicating effectively, sharing disagreements and maintaining civility. It’s about helping someone best understand your point of view and using the right, considered language to solve problems. Many times, I will read things that I disagree with—in both content and form—but it’s particularly meaningful to read stories I might otherwise never consider, only to have a deeper appreciation for why their authors believe a certain way. In the same vein, it can be just as important to challenge authors with specific questions and make sure any strong opinions don’t threaten or attack a subsection of our readership.

The Doe Has Changed the Way I Interact With People

The goal as an editorial team is to always find strong, unique voices. Thus far, it’s been exciting to read and approve pitches every week and see that diversity filling up our inboxes. Under the leadership of editor-in-chief Colin St. John, we’ve made good strides to keep expanding our purview, scouring the web (many times through Reddit) for people with great stories and giving authors an opportunity to find catharsis about a topic that’s important to them. It’s helped me grow as both an editor and a writer and even helped change the way I think about friends and family members who think differently than me about specific issues. More and more, I’ve grown allergic to certainty.

With that being said, here are a few other narratives that have impacted me in my time here and showcase what The Doe is all about. Thanks for reading!

2-Mar-22-2022-11-12-05-70-PM

My Favorite Anonymous Stories on The Doe

I'm an ICU Nurse Working in a COVID Ward: I'm Exhausted: This is a long, thorough account of what so many nurses and doctors have experienced over the last two years throughout the pandemic. I love the detail and the moral obligations this author shares when speaking to families with loved ones on life support. It’s brutal and honest and represents the unfiltered nature of The Doe.

I’m an Assistant Director: The ‘Rust’ Shooting Could Have Been Prevented: Many times, we try to find authors with a specific expertise that can speak to current events. In this case, it was really valuable to find someone in the movie industry who had worked with prop guns and could shed more light on the tragic death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

Sexual Harassment in Sports Forced Me to Change Careers: As someone who has worked in toxic sports cultures, this was a really important piece to commission and share. There is a glamorous side to the sports industry, but it often overshadows a lot of the misogyny and harassment that occurs in such a male-dominated space. This is a vital read to see what it’s like navigating these difficult workplace environments.

I Miss the Summer of Lockdown: There are plenty of stories about how the pandemic has negatively impacted individuals and communities, but this was a rare perspective that argued for its benefits. This author preferred solitude, preferred being away from uncomfortable family dynamics, preferred the simplicity of life. I wonder how many others feel like this.

The Hidden Toll of Factory Farming: It’s great to have insiders write for The Doe, especially about an industry that doesn’t get a ton of coverage. This is a tough narrative to swallow for animal lovers, but it’s important to read about the way that factory farms operate and the way they make humans numb to the whole process.

I hope you enjoy reading some (or all) of these narratives. We’re always on the lookout for more great stories, so if you want to share, you can pitch your story here. Otherwise, head to our explore page to read more of what The Doe has to offer. Thanks for reading!

EXPLORE NARRATIVES