My kind of editing

When I first heard that I had to create a blog about editing I started brainstorming what to talk about. As I’ve mentioned a gazillion times, this is somewhat of a foreign topic to me so I knew my blog would focus on a novice introduction to the field. I thought about how everyday people, like me, use editing. The first thing that came to mind was not Copy Editing, but more Instagram, Memes, and Vines.
Editing doesn’t always include spell check. To the masses the word editing may invoke the memory of that chick used Photoshop to totally catfish you on Tinder, or that YouTuber that got a million views in fifteen minutes from a seven second vine. Apps and websites now a days make editing a video or picture mean something different, and younger and younger individuals are mastering them and becoming “internet famous” for it.
Since this kind of editing is so prevalent in our society today and even becoming a lucrative business I decided it deserved a post. I also decided that “Vine” was the perfect example of this Millennial generation editing. I found this awesome article on how Vine was started on entitled “How Vine Climbed to the Top of the Social Media Ladder”. The article starts saying that a Vine was created showing the Boston Marathon explosions and it went viral. This put the app on the map. The article then makes this great comparison: “Vine is to short videos what Instagram is to snapshots: You shoot, edit, and share clips, all through a mobile app.” The article continues with interview by Colin Kroll to the creators of Vine. It highlights how social media and this app particularly has and still does play a growing role in the international community and how the world is changing. Link to the article below:
I kept getting a feeling that there is a science behind this new kind of editing. These apps and the images and videos they produce can create strong emotions and effects. I mean revolutions get started because social media makes it possible for images and videos to reach millions. This is powerful stuff, there has to be more behind it than Grumpy Cat. I wanted to look at meme’s next. An image with a few words posted on it has to resonate differently than a video where you can include sound and movement. I found another great article entitled “Makes a Meme Instead: A Concise History of Internet Memes” posted on a blog run by Linda Borzsei. It starts by explaining the term Meme and how the internet then shaped the term into something else. She includes a quote by Patrick Davison from his essay entitled Language of Internet Memes. He says “An Internet meme is a piece of culture, typically a joke, which gains influence through online transmission.” The article takes you through a complete history of how what we now think of a Meme developed from a smiley face –> 🙂 It also details formulas on how to create a great meme, including what kind of images to use and what to say that will relate to people and spark the emotion your looking to create by associating those words with that image. Here is the link:
The rise of the internet, social media, and apps like all these are changing the world. Yes sometimes they’re really silly, but sometimes they spark ideas, initiate movements, and spread information and opinions to the international masses. This new kind of editing has and will continue to change how we as an international community relate and associate with each other. They can also make a 4 into a 7.


The Code

If you’re reading this blog you’re probably Linda, my Copy Editing Professor at UNF. Just in case you’re not though, I am in the middle of completing my last assignment for said class and it entails editing an article and including with it everything a real copy editor would: A complete edited document, the original with the track changes shown, a style sheet, and an invoice for the work completed. Yes, that last one is tricky, I have to fake charge my professor for my homework.
To complete this assignment we were given a packet with examples of these things including a copy of the Code of Fair Practice created by the Editorial Freelancers Association. Something that I have really learned a lot about in this class is the community that all editors are a part of. This community creates guidelines like the styles of writing I’ve talked about in a few different previous posts. It also creates guidelines like the Code which has a little more to do with ethical operations. The Code of Fair Practice talks about how to professionally deal with clients in every aspect of the editing process. Smart right?
If you’re going to be an editor or have something edited it’s helpful to know about this. This code details how to deal with clients if you’re an editor, what resources you can use, how you can charge your clients, how to agree on timelines for the work completion, how you are given credit for your work, and even how to resolve conflicts between editor and author. This document is crucial to both parties. These guidelines set standards for what is to be expected when author and editor enter into an agreement.
So, Linda, and whoever else, this community of editors is an interesting one. This field engulfs all fields of study and entertainment, because everything from Twilight to text books needs to be edited, and editors need to be informed and ethical in what they do. And, as someone who enjoys both structure and “How To” guides, I find it interesting to learn that editors to do.


Imortance of Style Sheets

I needed to create a style sheet for my last assignment in my Copy Editing class at UNF. Like I’ve said I am not an English major so obviously I’ve never done this and didn’t really know where to start. So of course I googled the topic to try and find out why style sheets are important. I knew from this class that editors have a lot more responsibilities than fixing grammatical errors. They help writers reach their audiences by adjusting their word choice and getting the writing to flow in a clear way that gets the topic across to whoever the writer wants to appeal to. This also includes conforming the writing to be consistent in style.
The style includes the grammatical things like which kinds of commas, or pronouns to use. Also what kinds of abbreviations or numerals will be used in the writing. Format also falls under the umbrella of style. All these things should be consistent throughout the novel, article, or whatever is being written and edited. The style sheet can be created with the author so the author and editor can agree on what they want, but the editor can also use their expertise to decide what’s best for the piece.
Certain editors may be more versed in certain styles of writing such as the APA, MLA, or Chicago Manual of Style. All these styles are specific to the topic of the writing. If you are writing a Psychology text book you want to go to an editor who knows how to use APA. These manuals have set standards on what citations, grammar, and rhetoric should be used.
I feel like keeping the writing consistent is the most important job of an editor because it effects every sentence. When writing is inconsistent it will greatly decrease the author’s credibility and reputation.

Silly little mistakes

In class this week we had to go on a hunt for five examples of editing mistakes (I think I mentioned this assignment in an earlier blog). Well I figured I would share with you what I found since some are a little humorous. Here ya go:

The first two were bullet points of statistics I found when writing one of my blog posts. It’s a little hard to take these stats seriously when they have grammatical errors but I’m guessing that wasn’t really as much of a concern with the authors as the numbers. The next was also a quote I found while doing some research for a blog post. This one was a little funny because it was on how new technology has changed the world of film editing, but maybe she was using a type writer since spell check should have caught that one. The next is actually a link to someone who found an article about illiteracy in the NYC school system littered with grammatical and spelling errors. The original article was retracted to I can’t actually blame anyone for it but it seems to have been written in haste. The last was off a self-test I had to complete for a nutrition class I’m currently taking. The following is what was wrong with the sentences and how to fix them.

  • In 2011, 1,745(23.6% of the 7,382) state legislators are women, a decrease from 1,809
    -“are” should be “were” since “In 2011” implies that was in the past
  • The U.S. is ranked at 69th in the world in terms of women’s representation in national legislatures or parliaments (tied with Turkmenistan) out 188 direct election countries (as of October 31, 2011), down from 57th in November 2004. Canada is tied with Australia for 38.20
    – “out 188” should be “out of 188”. It is a statistic or ratio so the U.S. is 69th out of 188 direct election countries.

  • “Back in the times of physical film being used in the process of film post production, one error during the splicing process could not be undone, meaning it was damaged, leaving less oppotunity for mistakes.”
    – “oppotunity” should be “opportunity” simple spelling error.

  • “I was nervus about how hard it was going to be, how much of a chnage it was going to be from high school,” Gonzalez said. “I knew I needed to take remedial, If I started right away with credit classes it wasnt going to be so well, so it’s better off starting somewhere.
    -“nervus” should be “nervous”, “chnage” should be “change”, these are simple spelling mistakes. “wasnt” should be “wasn’t” which is an easy grammatical error. And the capital I in “If” should be lowercase, or the comma before it should be a period. All are mistakes that should have been caught if read through just once.

  • I Aware of the calorie content of foods that I eat.
    – “I Aware” should be “I am aware”. I did not include this but every sentence in the check list had the second word in the sentence capitalized which is not right.

We need to have a talk

This week we started to talk about gender biased in writing in the English language; we tend to use the pronoun he when we should use they or their. We started the conversation in my Copy Editing class off with a Ted talk by Laura Bates about everyday sexism. The statistics in her talk came from the U.K. and they were really surprising. She looked into women in government, arts, and sciences, and found that the number of men were staggeringly higher than women in all of these fields. I decided to look into the numbers in the U.S. I found that “women hold 17 of the 100 Senate seats” and that “women hold 73 or 16.8% of the 435 seats in the House of Representatives”. I also found that “the U.S. is ranked at 69th in the world in terms of women’s representation in national legislatures or parliaments (tied with Turkmenistan) out of 188 direct election countries (as of October 31, 2011), down from 57th in November 2004. Canada is tied with Australia for 38.”1 One other interesting tid bit I found was that Rwanda was ranked first in women in government.

I also looked into women in film and television and found that “In 2014-15, women comprised 26% of all directors, writers, executive producers, producers, editors, and cinematographers working on documentaries and narrative features screening at more than 20 high-profile film festivals in the United States.” Also “In 2014, females comprised 12% of protagonists, 29% of major characters, and 30% of all speaking characters in the top 100 grossing films.”2 These stats match a lot of Laura Bates in the fact that women are widely under-represented.

To tie this back to copy editing, I looked into the newspaper industry. This is what I found: “Nearly two-thirds (63%) of U.S. newspapers had at least one woman in their top three editing positions in 2013, according to the new annual census from the American Society of News Editors (ASNE), using 2013 data. Nearly half the papers responding (49%) said that one of those top editors was a woman, 12% employed two women in those top slots and 2% reported that all three top editors were women.”3 That’s awesome! This industry is really doing well with getting women in positions of authority. Then I remembered Laura Bates’s ted talk. While it was great that women were really doing well in journalism and the writing field I wondered if or how they struggled to get there. These numbers weren’t always like this. I found an article by Tracy Everbach, who said that after she advised an intern to shadow an older journalist. The intern later told Everbach the man made a pass at her. Everbach then did a little research and reports that “No significant surveys of women journalists on this topic have been completed since the 1990s. But at that time, studies found that between 60 percent and 80 percent of women journalists had experienced some kind of sexual harassment in newsrooms, either from co-workers or sources.”4 Let me just repeat that, 80% of women journalists experienced some kind of sexual harassment in the newsroom. That is appalling. While it is clear that women have and continue to make huge strides in many fields and especially in writing it is also clear that the road is rocky and filled with cat calls.





World Wide Web changing the art of Copy Editing

This week we need to find five examples of editing mistakes. The question posed in my Copy Editing class was “How would we know if it’s an editing mistake or a writing mistake?” The answer given was “It was published”. Back in the day you couldn’t get anything published without having an editor look it over. Now a days we have the internet! You can post anything you want in a matter of minutes with all the spelling, grammatical, or other errors for everyone to see. So I asked the internet how it has effected the world of copy editing and it gave me Angela Avery-Ahlijian’s essay “Copy Editing in the Digital Age: How Technology Has Changed Copy Editing”. 1 She says that a threat to the “art” of copy editing is that there are now programs that will electronically review your writing and spit it out with spelling errors, tense mistakes and so forth, marked for revision. She quotes Neil Holdway with saying that in the news the transition from paper to web is threatening good editing. I myself have caught errors when reading the news on my HuffPost or BBC app on my phone. Holdway attributes sloppy web editing to the fact that deadlines have changed. Now we expect the news cycle to never end, to always be updating. Before when journalists submitted their work every night there was a time to thoroughly edit articles. That traditional new cycle no longer exists.

Included in Avery-Ahlijian’s thesis is the computerization of the paste-up of a newspaper. Web news editors now have to be versed in “search-engine optimization” so the articles posted get more hits when key words are typed in. These, as well as other new tasks, have come under a copy editors job description since the dawn of the tech age. With new technologies some things required by editors have become easier (fact checking being one).

Going back to the assignment posed in class to find editing mistakes. The age of web based news and articles does make it easier to skip an editor all together which does result in a lot of mistakes. It also makes correcting these mistakes a lot easier. While it’s true that once it’s on the web it’s there forever news outlets can post retractions or edited articles much quicker than with newspapers.

Jasmine Aloma points out that digital editing in film has helped the industry in a very similar way. She says “Back in the times of physical film being used in the process of film post production, one error during the splicing process could not be undone, meaning it was damaged, leaving less oppotunity for mistakes.”2 (notice the spelling error? I copy and pasted that quote from her internet article).

So it’s obvious that the world of editing has changed a lot since the popularization of the internet and the expansion of its uses. The basic idea and need for a copy editor has not changed and as an art should not be lost.