How I will spend spring break

UNC-Chapel Hill is on spring break this week. It’s a welcome respite for students and faculty alike.

Although I am not teaching any classes this week, I have plenty to keep me busy. Here’s how I am spending my spring break:

  • grading midterm exams and other assignments, including guest posts for this site
  • preparing presentations and assignments for class for next week
  • reviewing applications for an online master’s program in digital communication
  • preparing for a workshop on headline writing at the national conference of ACES: The Society for Editing

Best wishes to my students and colleagues on a refreshing break. See you back on campus on Monday morning.

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Let’s meet in Rhode Island for #ACES2019

providence

The 23rd national conference of ACES: The Society for Editing will take place March 28-30 in Providence, Rhode Island. I’ll be there.

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

Online registration ends March 7. If you cannot attend, you can follow the fun on social media with the hashtag #ACES2019.

An editor for life

In 1999, I first joined ACES: the Society for Editing. The organization was then called the American Copy Editors Society, and it was made up mostly of editors from newspapers.

Since then, ACES has evolved into an organization of editors of all kinds. Freelancers make up the bulk of its membership. That diversity has strengthened the organization; ACES is better than ever.

I had the opportunity to serve ACES as a member of its Executive Committee from 2009-2013. I’m a current member of its Education Fund board, which oversees scholarships for students interested in careers in editing.

Over the years, I have learned a great deal from ACES thanks to its annual conferences, regional bootcamps and its newsletter, Tracking Changes. I’ve also made many friends.

This month, with my membership coming due, I have decided to become a lifetime member of ACES. It’s overdue, frankly, but I still have many years ahead as a teacher and practitioner of editing. With the help of ACES, I plan to make the best of them.

Scholarships for student editors

aces-auction

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!

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.

UPDATE: In October 2018, Love moved to Boise, Idaho, to work as a multiplatform editor at the Idaho Statesman.

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.