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.

 

Editing

Protecting the Tower or Holding Back the Tide?

“How can a copyeditor make a decision about a usage that’s in flux? When do we hold the line, and when do we concede a change?” Erin Brenner clarifies the role of copyeditors as gatekeepers who may influence how rules are made or changed and how they are applied.

Persistence in Error

John E. McIntyre of the Baltimore Sun shares his thoughts on some journalists’ “reluctance to be informed.” “Once you’re accustomed to journalese and its non-idiomatic practices, it sounds like natural language to you and actual English just seems wrong,” he writes. Don’t miss his notes at the end of the piece where he mentions examples of “imagined rules” and unfounded “standard practices.”

 

Social Media

Internet libel in cybercrime law constitutional – SC

Early last week, the Supreme Court declared its decision on the Anti-Cybercrime Act. Its rulings include online libel as constitutional. Rappler has a rather balanced report on the issue (which made people happy according to its mood meter). Amid this decision, perhaps Filipinos should also reflect on a question asked by sectors studying online defamation cases worldwide: “Can online media be governed by laws for offline media?”

Millennials: Trust No One But Twitter

It is said that millennials have lost trust in institutions such as the government, bank, big corporations and conventional media, but rather increasingly believe the words of those in social media – particularly strangers. “It seems counterintuitive: to trust a genre that allows people, for the most part, to say whatever they like, with no real official measure for, or guarantee of, truth and accuracy.”

Are quizzes the new lists? What BuzzFeed’s latest viral success means for publishing

Have you taken any of BuzzFeed’s quizzes? Its recent success on the social web promises the next big thing for the platform, which brands can take advantage of. “A quiz is not, generally speaking, journalism, and it’s far from a new form. But it’s a highly compelling type of reader engagement that, despite its long history in media, BuzzFeed latched onto only recently.”

 

Writing

Confessions of a Lifelong Eavesdropper

Rather than shutting the world out by putting your earphones and the music on when you commute, these confessions of a lifelong eavesdropper may be useful in a creative endeavor. “I learned early there was but a thin membrane — if that! — separating me from worlds beyond the ordinary, that in fact those worlds were pulsing hard against us on all sides. All you had to do … was tune in.”

11 Essential Ingredients Every Blog Post Needs

Copyblogger’s infographic shows what an ideal blog post should contain. It’s not enough that you have chosen your writing style, cleaned up your drafts from common grammar mistakes and checked the words you used. There are other essential ingredients – a magnetic headline, strong opening, and a seductive story, among others.

Spend 10 Minutes Doing This Every Day and You Could Transform Your Blogging

Darren Rowse of Problogger suggests a daily routine for a blogger eager to improve his craft. He has a rather exhaustive list of questions covering content, design, monetization, etc., to be used when reviewing other blogs. The goal, however, is not to copy someone else’s style or work, but rather to find inspiration and insights for your own writing, which may include design, marketing strategies, social media engagement, etc.

Hemingway Takes the Hemingway Test

Adam and Ben Long created the Hemingway app which analyzes the readability of your writing to make it “bold and clear,” as inspired by Ernest Hemingway. Would Hemingway, the writer, approve Hemingway, the app? Would he pass the test? See Ian Crouch’s bits of experiment.

Tech Writing Handbook

Here’s a neat handbook by Gozuki, a documentation software vendor, which contains tips on how to write instructions.

 

Publishing

Rise of the Platishers

Traditionally, publishers make their content available to the general public; platforms allow anybody to create and publish content. But as technology continues to change the media landscape, a publisher-platform hybrid, which Jonathan Glick calls the platisher, has emerged. Is this new model stable enough to thrive and rake in revenues for media and publishing companies? Also, should The New York Times become a platisher?

 

Journalism

Transitioning Into Understanding

Facebook is now offering more than 50 choices to indicate gender identity for its U.S. users. The move “marks an important note for journalists: Be informed and be sensitive.

 

Workplace

How to Make Yourself Work When You Just Don’t Want To

Sometimes doing your work, those tasks that have piled up, needs a lot of willpower and you tend to procrastinate more. HBR’s Heidi Grant Halvorson has some tips that can help you stop putting things off, including “Make like Spock,” prevention focus, and if-then planning.

Do Something, Do Nothing, or Decide You Don’t Care

Workplace improvement expert Ed Muzio identifies five types of people depending on how they react when presented with new information. Some may do something about it or take note of it for future use. Others do nothing or do not care because they believe they are flexible enough to adjust. Those who worry and do nothing else are the ones that threaten teamwork and the work environment. Which one are you?

Pick Your Battles: 3 Questions to Ask Before Disagreeing at Work

Disagreements at work are natural and it should be healthy. The Daily Muse shares three questions to ask before disagreeing with someone at work: (1) Are Personal Feelings Getting in the Way?; (2) Will it Put Me in a Bad Light—and If So, Is it Worth It?; and (3) Am I Willing to Do More Than Complain?

Helping the Passive-Aggressive Executive

Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries of HBR on how to deal with passive-aggressives in the office who may be great at what they do but are not the best team players.

 

Events

March 4 is National Grammar Day in the U.S.

To celebrate National Grammar Day, the American Copy Editor’s Society (ACES) is sponsoring a haiku contest on Twitter, while CNN’s iReport is asking users to share photos of funny grammar lapses.

 

 

Ditto is a fortnightly collection of stories on publishing, media, communications, and topics that concern editorial professionals from the most credible sources on the Web. We hope to educate young professional writers and editors about industry standards, breakthroughs, and trends, among other things. Usually, you’ll find news and commentaries in here, but from time to time, we also feature tweets, visuals, games, freebies, and other fun but useful stuff that caught our eye.

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