Saturday, April 23, 2005

From ACES - Editing and blogs

Now in the middle of copy editing session for ACES.
I've left that post up there because it was an illustration for the session how easy -- perhaps too easy sometimes -- it is to blog.

The session Nicole Stockdale and I held with Howard Owens of the Ventura County Star went well and, as I'd hoped it would, has touched off some rather pointed articles and discussions at Testy Copy Editors about editing and blogs.

Right now, I'm on blogging hiatus, as we are at the end of the semester and grading must take priority (if I see its/it's misused one more time, I may do something ugly). I plan a longer, thoughtful post later this week.

For now, two quick observations:
-- I am firmly in the "blogs-can't-be-edited-is-crap" camp
-- Too often when I am at copy editors' gatherings the tenor of things remains heavily top-down editing of the type imposed on and necessitated by the newspaper's linear production process. If copy editors cling to that, however, they are inviting themselves to be dismissed as anachronistic. Everything needs to be edited. Period. But as we have found in several projects at Newsplex, as things move digital and the flow becomes highly asynchronous, the style of editing must change. As noted before on this blog, it must become a more fast-moving, collaborative effort that "cleans up" the copy but also looks more to preserve the writer's voice than impose the institutional voice. Think of Manhattan Transfer starting to scat in the middle of a tune as opposed to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Both make beautiful music to my ears. And both are, in their own way, highly structured. But in the former, the individual styles are clearly more evident.

So put on some jazz, grab a sharpened pencil and let's all see what we can do to preserve the wonderful parts of this craft of ours while also looking at how it may have to evolve.


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