career development, copy editing, innovation, journalism, language, tips and tools, writing

On change, writing apps, overcoming creative block, pet peeves, and more

“Change is constant. Change is inevitable.” This applies to language, writing, and journalism too, especially in this age of technology. Perhaps at one point — when we were being sticklers for “proper” usage — we have corrected someone’s misuse of hopefully, literally, or enormity. However, people’s use of these words has changed, and we understand what they mean nonetheless, which is the point of language. Technology has also evolved, and it is changing how we write, edit, check for facts and plagiarism, and think about business. Here, we list recent stories on these changes, along with some creativity tips and fun reads.

 

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Original image: “Social Media Apps” by Jason Howie on Flickr. Used under a Creative Commons (CC BY 2.0) license.
career development, copy editing, innovation, journalism, social media, writing

“Tech” and other skills media folks need in the age of the Web

Journalists, editors, and writers may not need to know how to make software or assemble and maintain hardware, but the rise of the Internet and related technology has made it necessary for media folk to “get into tech.”  There’s much to learn about distribution platforms as well as modes of content-sharing and content ownership brought about by the Web that was not anticipated by the old journalism or mass communication curricula; there may be a bit of catching-up to do. This is not to say, though, that “classic” editorial skills are out the window.  Specialized skills remain valued and valuable through time. Like other professionals, those in media just need to understand and manage changes in the world and career environment that are taking place.

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Image credit: Sean MacEntee on Flickr. Used under a Creative Commons (CC BY) license.
career development, copy editing

How can we be more productive?

As a response to a reader’s request, John McIntyre shares “the secrets” to editing quickly and decisively. Rich Adin suggests reducing time spent on the mechanical pillar to have more time on the thinking pillar. Here, we gathered other tips to improve productivity. Some of them may be counterintuitive or even contradict each other, but given the credibility of the sources we found and how they echo one another, it’s difficult to not try them out.

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Image credit: JD Hancock (Flickr). Used under a Creative Commons (CC BY) license.
career development, copy editing, journalism, social media, writing

On “finding your blue,” social media Game of Thrones, and other career tips

April 15, 2014

In this issue, we gathered pieces of career advice on determining what it is you like to do, finding opportunities in nonpublishing industries, overcoming bad manners at work, and more. A social media makeover of Game of Thrones’ opening sequence, Facebook’s privacy dinosaur, 150 journalism clichés, and 10 best sentences from literature also made it to our reading picks.

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career development, copy editing, grammar and usage, journalism, language, social media

A style tip, a juice box, a writing bot and more

March 15 to March 28

 

 

The elements in our list above provide the main theme of reading picks in this, our fourth issue.  As motley as they are, the style update to a much-referenced newspaper stylebook, the markings on boxes of a certain orange juice brand, and a computer program called Quakebot that “wrote” and sent news of an earthquake to news desks in Los Angeles recently, seem to be heralding changes — in word usage, people’s attitudes to grammar, and the business and practice of journalism. Read on:

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Image by: Glasseyes View on Flickr. Used under a Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0) license.
career development, copy editing, innovation, publishing, tips and tools

What else can we do with our strengths?

March 1 to March 14

 

As technology continues to change the media, publishing, and communications landscapes, the importance of human editors is being challenged. The automation of the editing process, the pressure to break stories first, and the underselling of freelancers threaten our value to the organizations and the industries we serve.

We know that being an editor is more than just correcting grammar, spelling, and punctuation. But how do we show that to organizations and to consumers of information? In this issue of Ditto, we explore other ways we can use our editorial skills.

 

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career development, copy editing, journalism, language, publishing, social media, writing

Ditto: Mind Ticklers for Editorial Professionals

February 15 to February 28

This week’s issue is filled with editing, writing and publishing tips from various sources online. Stories also cover the rise of the platform-publisher hybrid (currently called platishers); the Hemingway app that you can use when you want to ensure your writing is “bold and clear,” and BuzzFeed’s quizzes, which are changing the picture for publishing and reader engagement. Workplace readings include tips on disagreeing at work, helping passive-aggressives, and understanding why you procrastinate and how to address it. Locally, the Supreme Court has ruled that online libel is constitutional, although concerns on the grounds and implementation of the law still remain. In other news, you might want to join ACES’ haiku contest on Twitter or share images of funny grammar lapses via CNN iReport in line with the upcoming National Grammar Day.

 

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Staff Picks #01 - Essential Tools
copy editing, tips and tools, training

Staff Picks: Essential MS Word Tools and Features

So you’ve been using F7 and Find and Replace. Now, it’s time you discover other Microsoft Word tools and features that could make you a more productive copy editor.

Although we’ve heard about books entirely written by computers, we still believe that writing and editing are tasks that cannot fully be done automatically. But that doesn’t mean writers and editors should do the entire content development process manually. In the same way that doctors have medical equipment and carpenters have toolboxes, there are a lot of tools available now to help writers and editors streamline the process. And most of these tools are already available in your favorite word processing software.

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No doubt, Mitt Romney's campaign would have benefited from having a copy editor. But proofreader would've caught the error.
copy editing, general, tips and tools

Myth: Copy editors only correct spelling and grammar errors.

We’re still busting some of the most common misconceptions about copy editors. Last time, we clarified that a superior vocabulary is not as important as knowing how to deal with words, phrases and idioms that are unfamiliar. Before that, we also mentioned that a journalism or English degree is not a strict requirement for copy editor and that there are opportunities for copy editors outside the newsroom or publishing firms. Now, we try to clarify the copy editor’s scope by busting another myth:

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03 walking dictionary
copy editing, tips and tools

Myth: Copy editors are walking dictionaries.

Sources summarize copy editing as making copy correct, complete, concise, clear and consistent — the five Cs, as the pros call them. It is often confused with either proofreading or developmental editing. You’d probably think that to be a successful copy editor, you’d have to love writing, or you’d need to be a grammar geek. But actually, the role goes beyond checking for subject-verb agreement and usage errors. So what does it actually take to be a copy editor?

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