An Editor’s Role

When one thinks of an editor, the general public assumes that it is the man or woman who fixes a writer’s grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors before publishing the work for the masses. Due to many technological changes in the industry, the job title of editor has transformed into a more creative and business oriented position. Editors today can design pages, choose their writers, and even negotiate pay and responsibilities of the writers they hire.

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Example of editing marks —Photo Courtesy of Google Images

 

There are several different types of editors. Page designers or page editors work with how the information and media is  presented. They deal with fonts, line length, sizes, colors, and many other kinds of type elements. The page editor is similar to the role that students in the Editing for Publishing class at Millersville University, where they will learn to deal with many of these elements. The most traditional type of editor is the copy editor. The copy editor works mainly with the grammatical, spelling and punctuation errors of a writer’s work. Copy editors also check for factual accuracy and clear meaning. According to chron.com, there are also acquisition editors, who are found in book publishing settings, are responsible for picking and choosing writers to fit their market. Acquisition editors also have a large network of contacts made up of already published authors, experts, and agents. Another common type of editor in today’s new world of publication is a editor in management. A management editor is responsible for the overall editorial standards and commercial success of their publishing organization. Often referred to as the ‘editor-in-chief’, most management editors will also write and develop stories themselves for publishing as well as select the stories and markets the organization will appeal to. These chiefs are also normally responsible for selling the rights to certain works to other organizations, to market in their own territory.

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Red is a traditional color used in editing—-Photo Courtesy of Google Images

What exactly does an editor do? According to an excerpt of Tim Parks’ book, “In Praise of the Language Police”, an editor is someone who assist a writer in seeing where the his unconscious work may be taking away from his main idea. Parks seems to be saying that editors are really in place to tame a creative mind, and make sure that readers don’t become lost in translation. James Joyner, the blogger who posted the excerpt from Parks’ work, states that there are three types of editors; the editors who wish they were writers, the editors who don’t edit, and the editors who make writers better. In Joyner’s post, he mentions that the editor who makes writers better has three primary roles to their writer. The first is to help them get their point across as well as getting their point seen. The writer must be succinct and the flow must be logical, advancing the piece smoothly. A writer must also have an intelligent voice and appeal to a reader who isn’t necessarily an expert. Keeping both these roles in mind, an editor must also help the writer avoid looking like “an idiot”. This is means catching the obvious spelling and grammatical errors and flagging down un-factual information.

According to Editorsforum.org, the new opportunities for writers and editors alike in the media world has made many of the job descriptions outdated. With the progression of technology and new media outlets like the Internet and social media, many writers and editors have had to work to adapt to their surroundings. Page editors is a very good example of how the position has progressed. While editors are still responsible for their stereotypical skills, many have developed into consistent, accurate, authorities in an ever changing electronic media field.

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Typography and Page Design – Reflection

 Much like every writer has a voice, every text speaks through its font, style and case. Some text will even go as far as establishing a gender. Typography is defined as the style and appearance of printed material, and it can be seen in almost everything. From the essays students write, to the notes their parents may leave on the counter, typography is everywhere.

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An example of modern typography designs featuring major recording artist, Bruno Mars. Photo Courtesy of Google Images

In edition to typography, editors and designers alike must pay attention to page design, or how a page is organized and laid out for appeal or print. Both elements are used interchangeably to enhance a writer’s work.

In Simon Garfield’s article, True to type: how we fell in love with our letters, published online for The Guardian, he explains how text has changed throughout time. Garfield mentions how in early centuries, everything was written in capital letters but today, capitals can be interrupted as yelling, and even got a woman fired from her job. He also explains many differences in scripts and fonts and how they have developed. Garfield uses the example of printing a cover for Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, while on the cover one would choose a elegant, classy font to appeal to the time period that the book was written, while on the inside of the book, the text may reflect a font that is more informing. Each and every case, as Garfield notes throughout his piece, is different.

According to DePaul University, typography can also be defined as the theory or practice of letter and typeface design which they translate to an art associated with design elements that can be applied to text and letter. Typography has been around since the very first alphabets and even series of hieroglyphics. The university also states in their article that even in today’s highly technological world, typography cannot be ignored, whether the work is being printed or electronically published.

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An example of typography design Photo Courtesy of Google Images

Font is considered to be an element of typography. Font can be defined as a complete set of type in the same style and size. This element is often taken for granted by today’s public as it is very common in software like Word Processor and Pages. Fonts are also made up of Serifs, which are defined by DePaul University as distinctive finishing strokes and variable or fixed widths. Each of these sub-elements to fonts can add its own unique touch to a specific style. DePaul also notes that there are specific style attributes in typography. These include underlining, bold, and italicizing. These are also commonly found in today’s Word Processor and Pages softwares. DePaul also discusses the most important elements of page design. These are defined as the page’s initial layout and spacing. Many other elements of a page design include variable spacing, headings and sub headings, indentations, block quotes, bullet lists, number lists, and tables, figures, and illustrations. Each and every element has it’s rightful place on a page and many can see this in a textbook or web page.

Carrie Cousins, a writer for codrops, a page on tympanus.net, where users can find many tutorials and how-tis on effective page design and typography uses writes about the effective use of typography in web design. Cousins states that type, being the primary design element, comes with its own effects and one must be aware of the effect desired when choosing a design. Novelty Type, as Cousins defines in her first paragraph, is often clean with bold color choices. It is also often bigger and uses strong wording in order to draw the eye. These can be commonly related to the ‘fun’ fonts and styles users may remember from when they were first introduced to a Word Processor. For example, Comic Sans could be considered a novelty typeface. Cousins also stresses the importance of keeping your typeface palette simple as for getting too complicated can pull away from your message.

Together, typography and page design enhance a work so it is outright appealing to the eye and catches your readers attention. With different elements like fonts and spacing, any sentence can be transformed into a work of art. Typography can also referred to as the voice of a piece, translating a writer’s voice depending on the style of the type used in its initial print. One should always remember that the text is not alone in that the design of a page is also important to its appeal to the public. The layout and spacing must not only fit the work but allow all that is supposed to be presented available for a reader. The challenges and creatively both elements bring to the table give editors a chance truly bring a different kind of story to the table.

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Writing a News Story

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A popular way to receive information in today’s day in age is through the news. — Photo Courtesy of Google Images

 

When writing a news story, the piece should answer the questions of who? what? where? when? why? and how? while being concise and directly to the point. According to Media College, news stories are not long and are designed to inform reader rather than just entertain them. Writers must remember a principal of informative news writing called the inverted pyramid. This concept explains the idea of having the most information about the newsworthy topic discussed in the first paragraphs. These paragraphs should give the reader a general overview of the story without having to read the whole way to the end. This is very important because statistically, readers who are reading a story with a “jump” or that is continued on a page internally, will not continue on to finish the piece.

Purdue’s OWL writing website also had many suggestions for writing a news story or a journalistic piece of writing. They recommend also using the 5 Ws and the H but they also suggest constructing a lead. A lead in the beginning of a news story that possesses more a basic summary of the information, as well as answers the 3 most important W questions of who, what, and where. Purdue also mentions that printed newspapers are moving to more analytical pieces of why and how rather than breaking news pieces possessing the other Ws. This is because of the major demand for online media and the ability to post more hard news right as it happens. A news lead could also be considered to be part of the inverted pyramid concept.

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The weapon of choice for many writers —–Photo Courtesy of Google Images

Jim Hall, a contributor to a site on beginning journalism for VCU states that the inverted pyramid doesn’t encourage the best writing. Hall supports this argument with the fact that some of the stories using the inverted pyramid technique do not have a well crafted ending. Many of these stories simply just end. This leave reporters with a lack of interest and energy in the piece. Hall suggests writing with an hourglass structure. This allows the writer to combine the information lay-out of the inverted pyramid but combine it with a follow-up summary of the information at the end of the piece. He feels this structure encourages a better ending and a storytelling style that keeps readers engaged in the retelling of the event.

According to a contribution to a site developed by Johns Hopkins, an interview is also a highly recommended piece for a news story. Hopkins suggests talking to a person and collecting their account can deeply enhance a story. They suggest preparing questions, taking notes, and making a set appointment to meet with a person is key to a successful interview process. Hopkins also suggests researching content while developing a story. This can be used in developing interview questions as well.

A news story, while seeming very simple, is filled with structures and elements that can create a rather complex work for a reader to enjoy.

Sources:
http://www.mediacollege.com/journalism/news/write-stories.html
https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/735/05/
http://www.courses.vcu.edu/ENG-jeh/BeginningReporting/Writing/writing.htm
http://www.jhuapl.edu/education/elementary/newspapercourse/forstudents/tips.htm
http://jerz.setonhill.edu/writing/journalism1/journalism-writing-the-hard-news-story/
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Feature Story Composition

A feature story, or a story that is focused more on specific people, places, or events are written differently than a traditional news story. These types of stories are often developed further than a traditional news piece, showcasing research and descriptive thought on a specific topic.

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Words to describe the art of writing—-Photo Courtesy of Google Images

When writing a feature story, writers will complete extensive research on a specific topic. For example, the latest edition of Time magazine showcases the band, U2, as their feature story. This story includes information on the band’s latest projects and plans for their future endeavors. According to an article published on the behalf on the University of North Carolina, Pembroke; feature stories are longer, and allow a writer to develop a story. Most feature writers do not use structures found in hard news stories like the inverted pyramid technique because they are not restricted on space or attention spans of their readers. Writers keep their views and opinions out of the story and typically write in the third person, which is similar to their hard news counterparts.

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An example of a feature story done on women in public relations—–Photo Courtesy of Google Images

According to About News, a media page on about.com, states that there are 5 key components to a feature story. These include a great lead, quotes, descriptions,background information and anecdotes. A great lead should set the scene of the story. It can be descriptive like the beginning of a novel. The description should further a lead, in that it brings a reader even further into a story. These are often used to paint a mental picture in the mind of the reader. Background information is important to the piece because it gives readers more information about the topic presented. For example, if the feature story is a profile piece, or about a person, background information can introduce the reader to the person and allow them to further understand them. Relating back to the U2 feature story, the writer may have put in some information about how the band got together in order to enhance the significance of their most recent release. Quotes can also enhance a feature story, in that they can give direct accounts of the event or the person being featured. Anecdotes act as a different kind of story enhancer, as they are little short stories within a story and are often used in illustrating key parts of the main story.

Feature stories, in a sense, can be thought of the main event. Many readers will flip to the feature story in magazines before paging through the ads and the smaller stories. The New York Times feature stories are even progressing to include some serious technology like video clips and animation to further tell a story.

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Typography Poster – Avengers “Pavo” Style

In this poster, I took all the words describing the Avengers movie… which happens to be one of my favorite flicks, and transformed them into their logo. I couldn’t be happier with the result! Here is a link to the PDF version…. AvengersType Just a friendly reminder that I do not own Marvel or The Avengers in anyway and the use of this image was for private and scholarly purposes.

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Page One: Inside NYT Review

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Theatrical Poster for Page One — Photo Courtesy of Google Images

The New York Times, as stated in the documentary, is synonymous with the media. The “to know” media information is reported and distributed by the Times across the nation in the traditional newspaper format. One of the main topics of the piece was the question of whether or not the Times would survive the death of the newspaper and the evolution of news.

Many staff writers and editors talked about the effect of the print advertising decline and the invasion of WikiLeaks to the media. WikiLeaks essentially was the millennial “Watergate” in that they had obtained government information that was released to the public in a matter that had no filter. Much of the “leaks” the group put out were military videos posted to YouTube, a social video sharing website, of air strikes and missions the public was unaware of. It also portrayed some of the military personal in the videos as merciless killers.

One of the key questions through out the documentary was whether or not ‘old media’ such as the traditional Times newspaper would survive the evolution and high speed progression of the new media. The New York Times hired basement blogger, Brian Stelter, to help them head into the new media frontier. His work with Twitter, Facebook, video blogging, and other sources of internet social media has helped the Times progress into the 21st century. Stelter often meets with college students regarding the importance of being fluent in social media.

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David Carr working on a story. — Photo Courtesy of Google Images

Much of Stelter’s push has helped the media realize that they truly can do more with less. This is also a defining trait of public relations work. The idea fo publishing a story or even getting attention to information without have to pay for it is ideal to a world that is making major budget cuts and layoffs. Stelter also argues that the traditional newspaper could very easily remain alive with the move to a digital copy that could be presented on tablets and smart devices. David Carr, a very traditional journalist, and the New York Times resident ‘bad ass’ as the film seemed to portray him agrees.

Carr, a former addict turned media mogul, is the Times bloodhound when it came to critical stories that were to be presented fairly. Giving each side the opportunity to communicate and asking the pressing questions, Carr’s stories are part of the reason that the tradition Times newspaper is often still purchased in print. He was the man with many of the answers and often times, would beat down the media’s toughest critics. He proves that in an on screen interview with magazine editors and executives in an attempt to appeal the Times to a younger audience.

The New York Times is not going anywhere with now a very strong presence beyond the world of print. You can find the Times on Twitter, Facebook, and on the web with subscriptions available for full access to all that is published. One can also follow Brian Stelter and David Carr on Twitter for further information on the stories and beats that they follow for the Times.

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