Scholarships for student editors

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A 1970 edition of the AP Stylebook was among the items available at a silent auction at a past ACES conference. Proceeds from the auction go to scholarships.

Since 1999, the ACES Education Fund has offered scholarships to students interested in careers in editing. Now is the time to apply for the 2019 awards.

Six scholarships are available. One is named for Bill Walsh, an author and Washington Post copy editor who died in 2017. That $3,000 award will go to a student interested in editing news.

The other five scholarships are open to student editors in any field, including book publishing and social media. The awards range from $1,500 to $2,500.

In addition to the scholarship, the award provides financial assistance for winners to attend the national conference of ACES: the Society for Editing. The next conference will be in Providence, Rhode Island, in March 2019.

The deadline to apply for an ACES scholarship is Nov. 15. To learn more, check out the ACES Education Fund’s page on the ACES website. You can also donate to the scholarship fund there.

Good luck to all applicants!

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Q&A with Alysha Love, editor at CNN Politics

CNN EXPANSION DC 2017

Alysha Love is a multi-platform editor at CNN Politics. She previously worked as a web editor at Politico. Love is also a member of the Executive Committee of ACES: The Society for Editing. In this interview, conducted by email, Love discusses her job at CNN and her involvement in ACES.

Q. Describe your job at CNN Politics. What is your typical day like?

A. I’m multi-platform editor, which is a super-ambiguous title, I know. My job lives on the digital side of the CNN operation in Washington, D.C., so my team of digital producers and I spend our days:

    • optimizing the stories we publish — think SEO, photos, videos, related stories and other steps that help readers have the best-possible experience on mobile, desktop or tablet;
    • programming those stories across CNN’s digital platforms;
    • posting stories, videos and photos to our social media accounts.

If it touches the internet, we’re the newsroom’s go-to source for making it happen. The job takes strong editorial news judgment, creative problem-solving skills and the drive to keep up with the fast-paced world of political news.

I also work with our third-party partners and make sure that our team is staying on top of industry trends and changes. I work closely with the product development team as a voice for the editorial team as CNN creates new projects.

Multi-tasking is key for my job: Throughout the day, I may be copy editing a story while helping the digital producers make judgment calls about video clips they’re cutting live from air while on a video call demoing a new tool we’d like to use. Communication happens over email, chat, conference calls and video chats — whatever it takes to stay connected with other team members or third-party partners who may be located in a different city or country.

Q. How do story editing and headline writing work at CNN Politics?

A. At CNN Politics, which produces editorial content across digital platforms while working hand in hand with newsgathering and television colleagues, our reporters file their stories with their best headline idea. Their editors will refine or rework that headline with the reporters during the story edit.

Reporters and editors are responsible for writing headlines that work for mobile, social and search. Every story then gets a copy-edit from another editor in the newsroom, who’ll be coming at the story with fresh eyes. Any final revisions to the headlines come during that final copy-editing process.

Q. You are active in ACES: The Society for Editing. What drew you to the organization, and why do you find it valuable?

I joined ACES my senior year at the University of Missouri. I’ve always loved editing and had begun to realize it was a career track I might enjoy more than reporting.

In the small chapter of ACES at Mizzou, I found a cohort of people who also deeply loved language and cared about details. We organized to road trip down to the ACES conference in New Orleans over spring break that year (yes, I really spent senior spring break at an editing conference), and I found even more people with the same passion for words that I had. I was hooked on the people and the experience, and that fueled my run for the ACES executive board in 2016.

Not only are the people at ACES great, but the organization provides incredibly helpful training, resources and support for editors (and, frankly, anyone who works with words).

Q. What advice do you have for student journalists who are interested in careers like yours?

My role at CNN is a job that, in some ways, it feels like I fell into. It’s one that, at least when I was in college, there wasn’t a clear path to — or even much specific training for a job that would look like this.

You all are much better-positioned to take on digital roles as journalism continues to evolve. My best advice is to stick with the journalistic principles that are your foundation, build on what you know and be open to opportunities that could lead you to new, unthought-of paths.

Follow Alysha Love on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Show off your headline skills at #ACES2018

palmerhouseballroom

Hundreds of editors will gather this week at the Palmer House hotel in Chicago.

It’s ACES week. The national conference of ACES: The Society for Editing starts Wednesday, April 25, and ends on Saturday, April 28 in Chicago. I’ll be there.

The sold-out conference has an impressive schedule of sessions. I’m also looking forward to the silent auction, the spelling bee and keynote speech by linguist Lynne Murphy. If you can’t attend, you can follow the fun with the #ACES2018 hashtag on social media.

This year, I am organizing and taking part in a new session called “Sharpening Your Skills: A Headline Workshop.” My co-hosts are Vicki Krueger of BayCare Health System and Teresa Schmedding of Rotary International.

The session will be a “pop up” contest in headline writing. Here’s how it will work:

  • We will begin with a short discussion on what makes an effective headline for digital media. We’ll also talk about email subject lines and push notifications.
  • Next, we will give audience members three posts, including a news story and a press release. We’ll ask them to write a headline for each one. For the third post, we’ll add a subject line and push notification.
  • We’ll ask audience members to email their entries to us, and we will judge them during the session.
  • Writers of the best headlines, subject lines and notifications will win fabulous prizes.

I’m looking forward to a fun, informative conversation and competition. May the best headline writers win!

Let’s meet in Chicago for #ACES2018

palmerhouse

The historic Palmer House hotel in Chicago is the site of the national conference of ACES: The Society for Editing.

The national conference of ACES: The Society for Editing will take place April 26-28 in Chicago. I’ll be there.

The conference includes fantastic sessions that will appeal to editors across disciplines. We’ll learn who won the headline contest, enjoy a spelling bee and honor scholarship winners. Friendly games of Scrabble in the hotel bar are also likely.

To get the early bird rate, you’ll need to register by Jan. 31. Online registration ends April 9. If you cannot attend, you can follow the fun on social media with the hashtag #ACES2018.

Scholarships that support editing

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BILL WALSH (RIGHT) AT THE SPELLING BEE AT THE ACES CONFERENCE IN LAS VEGAS IN 2014. Proceeds from the bee benefit the ACES Education Fund. (PHOTO BY MARK ALLEN)

For nearly 20 years, the ACES Education Fund has offered scholarships to students interested in careers in editing. Once again, it’s time to apply.

What’s new this year is a scholarship named for Bill Walsh, an author and Washington Post copy editor who died earlier this year. That $3,000 award will go to a student interested in editing news.

The other five scholarships are open to editors in any field. For example, UNC-Chapel Hill student Marisa DiNovis won an ACES scholarship in 2015. She now works in book publishing.

Another UNC-Chapel Hill student, Danny Nett, was awarded a scholarship this year. He recently completed an internship at National Public Radio and is seeking a job in editing.

“It’s a good extra thing to be able to mention on my resume when I’m applying places,” said Nett, who graduated in May. “I actually had a co-worker at NPR realize I was one of the recipients (I guess when she went back through conference photos) and tweet at me freaking out, like, three months into my being here. That was kind of fun.”

In addition to the scholarship, the award provides financial assistance for winners to attend the national conference of ACES, the Society for Editing. The next conference will be in Chicago in April 2018.

Nett attended the ACES gathering this year in St. Petersburg, Florida, and found it beneficial personally and professionally.

“I interviewed for an internship while I was at the conference, and I ended up getting an offer. I definitely think meeting in person and getting the chance to talk helped a ton,” Nett said. “I also met a couple of friends down in St. Pete who I still talk to on a weekly basis. I loathe the word ‘networking,’ but it was a good way to get a bit further into some editing circles.”

The deadline to apply for an ACES scholarship is Nov. 15. To learn more, check out the ACES Education Fund’s page on the ACES website.

Good luck to all applicants!

Q&A with freelance editor Heather E. Saunders

heathersaundersHeather E. Saunders is a freelance proofreader and STM editor who lives in Massachusetts. She edits material about mental health, aeronautics and cancer research, among other topics. In this interview, conducted by email, Saunders discusses her work, her new role at ACES and her viewpoints on the Oxford comma and the singular they.

Q. Describe your job. What is your typical day like?

A. As you might expect, a “typical” day is never guaranteed in the life of a freelancer. I have developed a general structure for my days and my weeks, but there must be an inherent flexibility to my schedule.

The morning is devoted to emails and house chores, and early afternoon is set aside for deep focus work. After a quick lunch and an extended puppy playtime, the rest of the afternoon is spent on lighter project work. I end the day with marketing, networking and follow-up emails.

I schedule new projects and check in on project updates early in the week and send invoices on Friday. I’ve developed a rhythm that ensures I have time for billed work, marketing for new work and professional development, even though those times might fluctuate a bit day to day.

Q. You were a journalism major as an undergraduate. How did you go from news to other types of editing?

A. During my studies, I fell in love with the copy desk. I started in journalism with a desire to write, but I found myself much more at home editing copy. Once I knew I preferred editing to writing, it was a just a matter of deciding what I wanted to edit.

Working in journalism actually helped me hone in on my passions; I learned very quickly which fields interested me, and I decided to pursue those right out of the gate. I’ve always been drawn to the sciences, and I studied astronomy and psychology as well as journalism. One of my first clients was an aeronautics journal, and from there I expanded to other areas.

Q. You were recently elected to the executive committee of ACES, the Society for Editing. What inspired you to run, and what do you hope to achieve as a board member?

A. I’ve loved being a part of ACES since I joined to attend my first conference in Las Vegas. I ran for the board so I could contribute to this organization that does so much for our field. I was the Boston chapter coordinator for the Editorial Freelancers Association for three years, so I felt prepared to offer my time and skills.

As a board member, I hope to help develop more training opportunities for intermediate and advanced editors as well as more opportunities to connect with colleagues, be that at local meetings, through mentoring, or at other events. There are many new things happening at ACES that I am excited about.

Q. What advice do you have to people interested in careers in editing similar to yours?

A. There is certainly no one path to a career, and I found mine through study; I studied editing and linguistics as well as news and current research in fields that interest me. And I continue this study regularly. Together, this learning keeps me current on the fields I work in as well as keeps my editing skills sharp, which continually creates new opportunities.

Q. Lastly, what’s your view on the two topics that editors get asked about a lot: the Oxford comma and the singular they?

A. I enjoy the Oxford comma in my reading, but rarely use it in my personal writing (a holdover from my early days in journalism), so I live in both worlds.

I like seeing it on the printed page, but generally only put it there if style dictates or if I’m writing for a broad audience. If Oxford comma usage was banned or made mandatory tomorrow, I wouldn’t lose sleep either way.

As for singular they, I encourage its use and am pleased to see style guides finally adopting it.

Check out Heather E. Saunders’ website and follow her on Twitter.

Remembering Bill Walsh

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Bill Walsh (right) at the spelling bee at the ACES conference in Las Vegas in 2014. (Photo by Mark Allen)

Bill Walsh, the noted Washington Post copy editor and author of several books, died earlier this month of cancer at age 55. It’s a heartbreaking loss for his friends and family, and for the craft of editing.

I had the good fortune to meet Bill via ACES, the Society for Editing. We had shared interests in journalism, tennis and ’80s bands such as Aztec Camera. It was always a pleasure to spend time with him and to attend his wise and witty presentations at ACES conferences.

When thinking of Bill, I recall one ACES conference in particular. It was in New Orleans in 2012.

I was chatting with a journalism student at the post-conference reception at a bar in the French Quarter. Bill was nearby. The student mentioned how she had attended Bill’s session at the conference and how she’d like to meet him.

But she was nervous. Would Bill Walsh, one of the stars of the conference, be willing to talk with a college student attending an ACES conference for the first time? I assured her that yes, he would be happy to, and I introduced them. Bill greeted the student as he would a close friend or trusted colleague. I stepped away to give them time to talk one on one.

That moment was a prime example of the open and inviting atmosphere of ACES conferences. It doesn’t matter whether you are a novice or a doyen. We are all editors who can learn from each other.

Now, ACES has established a scholarship in Bill’s name. It is intended for a student interested in a career in editing news. Bill’s wife, Jacqueline Dupree, is generously matching initial donations to the scholarship fund.

I hope that you will consider donating as I have. It’s a significant way to keep the memory of Bill Walsh alive for many years to come.