Editing your life’s story

The journalism school at UNC-Chapel Hill held its commencement Sunday. This is a smaller ceremony that takes place shortly after the universitywide commencement.

This year’s speaker, Ken Lowe of Scripps Networks Interactive, concluded his remarks to the journalism school’s graduates with this observation:

You’re well prepared for the future, which is really about taking lots of facts, lots of information, lots of details, and editing them down to precise, usable and focused takeaways of information and, yes, stories. The world, in my opinion, belongs to you, the editors of our future.

When you think about it, just about everything in life is edited, isn’t it? This program today is edited. This building was edited. The streets on which you came over today were edited. The menu where you ate lunch today was edited.

Curation and the ability to take complex and sometimes difficult information and get it down to something that people can understand is very powerful. You have that in your hands.

It is a message to remember. Even in an age where copy desks are being cut and consolidated, editing is still an essential part of communication and, indeed, life.

Thank you, Ken, for your wise words, and good luck to journalism graduates across the country.