Over the course of this semester, I have learned many things - some I already knew and some I did not. Editing is a never ending learning process though, because things are constantly changing. In this class we had the privilege to edit some of our peers' work from the Writing for Publication class. Those in the Writing for Publication class were not all journalism majors, but are from a wide range majors. However, this made my job as an editor more difficult.
As a journalist, we are taught to write our articles in a particular fashion, with use of AP Style. Those who are in the publishing class were shown and taught this method; however, very few followed the conventions. The initial problems that arose while editing the students' stories, included a lack for AP Style. It drove me crazy, because I have been so fine tuned to this particular style that it drove me nuts that others weren't following. For instance, let's say you have facts and/or figures in your article...the proper format should be 57 percent, not 57%. Those who write as journalists, should know this; however, even some of the journalists in the publishing class still made the silly mistake.
For their next pieces or just in the future, I would recommend them to know what kind of print media they'd like to send their work to. That way, they can write it following the style guidelines that the media requires; for example, for journalism make sure you are using AP Style and are using it correctly, for a scholarly article make sure you are following MLA guidelines, etc. This will help get their pieces published, because they'll fit the guidelines that the publisher is looking for.
Trim the pieces we had was definitely a challenge for me, because I felt like I was taking away from the original piece. I soon realized that that's just how things work, and that real publishers will cut down pieces to make them fit in the space they have available. The hardest part; however, is figuring out what to trim. Basically you just have to remove things that are in the story that add a little something extra, but that can be taken out and the piece will still make sense. It's also good to take big, unnecessary words and delete them or make them into a smaller synonym. You also have to realize that you're not trying to change or ruin the writer's piece, but simply make it work for your publication - that's the most important thing.
Another thing these writers should to do in the future is to make sure their pictures properly correspond to their stories. Sometimes writers are in a panic and look for any picture that'll work for their piece, this is a mistake. The pictures need to accurately portray something that goes along with their stories. The pictures also need to be a high quality resolution so that they are able to be editing and photoshopping easily. The last thing an editor wants to do is have to spend a long period of time trying to fix a photo or find a one to replace the one submitted. Also, another important thing is to remember to give your photo attribution, who took it or where it came from, and what's going on in it. These are all things that an editor will need while laying out the piece.
I have come to have an absolute love of editing. There may be times when I get frustrated with a piece, but usually it's because the writer is not a journalist or doesn't follow the proper conventions. I've also found that I have a love of AP Style, and I've become quite the stickler for it. I actually laughed as I wrote that, because just last semester I absolutely hated it. I think that in the past couple of months I have changed and grown as a journalist, and am aware that this is the profession I belong in. I will continue to grow and change, just as the field itself will, but I'm not sure I'll the same appreciation for it then as I do now. I think it's because this semester ends my journalism degree and all that I have left is my literature degree. I have always had a love of literature and reading, and never really enjoyed writing. I think that's changing...I think that I'm realizing that I'm not a horrible writer, and that's making a difference. I also finally found a career where researching and reporting factual information is encouraged. I've always had a love for research papers...I'm strange I know. I can't wait to continue on with this profession and see where it leads me.