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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“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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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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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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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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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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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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On Bloomberg and the Financial Times, AP and Homophobia, 2012 in Review and Mannying

December 8 to December 14, 2012

Last week, Twitter, Google and Facebook released year-end reviews using data from their users revealing world search trends and memes. Also, we saw Manny Pacquiao suffer a sixth-round knockout to Juan Manuel Marquez, and that image of Pacquiao echoed through social media and sparked a meme hours after the match. Meanwhile, the Associated Press banned the use of “homophobia” based on technicality, and NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg hinted on his interest to buy the Financial Times. Other stories in the lineup: Jack Reacher author Lee Child’s advice on creating suspense and using editing prompts.

Image credit: Twitter

Image credit: Twitter.

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On @YourInAmerica, the Leveson Inquiry, Recent Findings and the Love English Awards 2012

November 24 to November 30, 2012

The week was filled with language, publishing, social media and journalism stories, including a Twitter-bot that shames those who actually mess up while trying to tell other people to learn proper English, reactions on the report on “the culture, practices and ethics of the press,” a deal that would sell McGraw-Hill’s education business to a private equity firm and the second year of Macmillan’s Love English Awards.


Image credit: "Love English" by Adrian Claudio.

Image credit: “Love English” by Adrian Claudio.

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On @NYOnIt, Operation Pillar of Defense, Black Friday and the Last Typewriter Made in the U.K.

November 17 to November 23, 2012

This week: the parody Twitter account @NYTOnIt and the Times’ interesting attempt to shut it down, how the Gaza conflict is becoming a cyberwar with both Israel and Hamas leveraging social media to promote their respective agendas, things language lovers are thankful for and the etymology of “Black Friday.”

Image credit: “Typewriter Letters” by Laineys Repertoire on Flickr. Used under a CC BY 2.0 license.

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