Editing vs. Editorializing

February 9, 2010

Writing the editorial is my least favorite part of being an editor. The weeks that Amanda writes it are blissful and luxurious to me. Not because it is a ton of work to be doing, but because every week without fail I feel like I’ve been thrown into the deep end without a life jacket or even some water wings. I have two recurring problems with the editorials.

Scenario A is that I really don’t have an opinion or a personal stake in the matter, like when I editorialized about why we did the McDaniel Book. I wasn’t even on staff when y’all were doing that. You could have taken that editorial, slapped it between two slices of bread and made yourself a grilled cheese sandwich.

Scenario B is when I write about an issue that affects me personally, like this week’s story about pets or the parking editorial where it’s hard for me to step back and pretend that I am writing the opinions of a board of editors and not Erin Ferrell’s Personal Issues That No One Shares. I sometimes wish that the other editors would give me some input so that the editorial is not just an extension of my column (it is usually a group effort between myself and the EIC), or is just the opinion of two people on the ed board.

Some people, I want to slap them (metaphorically, of course)

February 2, 2010

Editing, and perhaps working for the newspaper in general has turned me into a control freak. If I wasn’t already. The hardest part of the whole thing for me is the loss of control when you are trying to set up an interview and you are completely in their hands. They can (and often do) just choose not to call back. There is no polite way to say “If you don’t call me back I’m going to fail this assignment,” and not sound like you are having a fit of the vapors. Usually in this situation, I am having a fit of the vapors. I often feel like most of the faculty, staff and in many cases students just don’t respect me and my time. I do my utmost to use their time wisely, but even in instances where I have contacted them a week or so before my deadline people sometimes give me the run around. When this happens I try to think of the Serenity Prayer that I learned when I interned at a drug and alcohol rehab clinic and then promptly forgot. but it does say something about letting go and accepting that when the ball is in someone else’s court, you simply can’t control their play.

Editing Columns

January 28, 2010

So I pretty much just got told that I have no friends because I cared about something too much. How in the H-E-Double hockey sticks am I supposed to edit columns without people hating me? Not that I am friends with any off them, but…I don’t have enough power to be unconcerned with whether or not I am hated! Most of the time I have no idea what the columnists are talking about or I am wondering who cares. But I remember being a staff writer and I remember people editing my articles into oblivion and then having to say “Hey. This no longer means what I meant to mean.”

So how am I supposed to apply the things we learn in editing without changing the vision of the columnist? A quote I sort of recognized (though its sentiment was widespread) from a column was used recently on an editing quiz and it made me wonder if in my quest to use engaging language, was I being inappropriate in regards to the AP stylebook? What is more important, writing from my heart and my mind, or writing from a stylebook?


January 21, 2010

A lot of times, not so much in my stu pub job, but in classes, I feel like I’m being tossed into the ocean and told to sink or swim. Most of the time I sink, which is funny because when I am actually in a body of water I float like nobody’s business. Just try and drown a fat kid.

So I was really relieved when we started going over quizzes and articles. It felt like a life-preserver. I think the more of this that we do the better, because it seems like there are so many rules that my head will explode but I really want to learn them. My feelings on the class are just generally fatalistic, i.e. I will learn a lot but still receive a failing grade. I’m terrified of the prospect of having my articles critiqued because I’m pretty sure Kenna will rip them apart like a pack of wild dogs on a sirloin. However, after seeing her edit Lizzy’s article I understand how it could be beneficial to watch someone edit your work.

I feel like I am already running out of time because it just seems like this is the kind of thing that takes years to acquire competancy. I don’t know how I can learn all that before I will be tested on it.  On another topic, how cool is WordPress They just corrected my passive voice!

Blog #1

January 13, 2010

The thing I’m most interested in learning more about this semester is copy editing. I kind of copy edited some stuff for the paper last semester (or at least everyone let me think I did), and I felt extremely inept at it. I feel like this class will fill some of the holes in my skill set, and make me better at my job in general.

So much of the time I feel like I am miles behind everyone else. I feel like everyone else has a ton more experience than I do. And everyone uses such smart language and mysterious jargon…I guess I’m just hoping that editing will be the magical class that closes the gap betwixt me and my classmates and finally makes me feel comfortable with things like copy editing. I’d just kind of like to not feel like an imposter every time I saunter into the newsroom.