I’ll be on the road next week for the annual AEJMC conference, which takes place in San Francisco this year. Here are the main items on my agenda:
On Wednesday, I’ll be one of four presenters at an “editing bootcamp” sponsored by the American Copy Editors. It’s the fourth time I’ve participated in this workshop, and it’s always fun.
On Friday, I’ll play host to the Breakfast of Editing Champions, a gathering of instructors who teach editing and writing. We’ll talk about trends in journalism education and exchange teaching ideas.
I’ll also attend various panels and presentations, and perhaps do some sightseeing. But I probably won’t wear any flowers in my hair.
UPDATE: Both events went well. About 35 editors, mostly from public relations, attended the ACES bootcamp. And my final Breakfast of Editing Champions was fun and informative. Kirstie Hettinga, who teaches at Cal Lutheran, will take over as the event’s organizer and host in 2016.
About 500 full-time, part-time and freelance editors are registered for this year’s three-day gathering. That would make it the best-attended ACES conference in 10 years. They will come from news, academia, government, book publishing and the corporate world.
Sadly, I will not be among them. I cannot attend this year’s conference because of a family issue. I’ll miss out on great sessions and won’t be able to cheer on winners of the headline contest or congratulate students who have won scholarships. I will, of course, follow the news from the conference on the ACES website and via Twitter.
Best wishes to everyone going to Pittsburgh. I know that you will share a lot of knowledge as well as a few laughs. I hope to see you in Portland, Oregon, for the 2016 conference.
The following week, I will be back on campus to get ready for the fall semester, which starts Aug. 20. That includes making final touches on syllabuses and assignments. I’ll also attend a faculty retreat as well as student orientations for our MATC and certificate programs.
Thanks, as always, for reading. See you in mid-August.
“Weird Al” Yankovic is back. The song parodist who lampooned Michael Jackson and “Star Wars” back in the day has a new album called “Mandatory Fun.” Each day this week, Yankovic is posting a music video from the album on his website.
Two of the songs from “Mandatory Fun” share a “wordy” theme. “Mission Statement” takes aim at those jargon-filled declarations from corporations, government and academia. “Word Crimes” offers advice on grammar, word choice and punctuation, all to the tune of “Blurred Lines.”
“Word Crimes” has generated chatter on Twitter among writers, editors, linguists and lexicographers. Here is a sampling:
“Weird Al” Yankovic’s “Word Crimes” is fun but reinforces stereotype of editors as cranks who need to get a life.
I always take peeves as a sign that the person truly cares about language. Which is a start.
I see some truth in each of these statements. As an editor, I like grammar and have my own peeves, but I’m also more flexible on matters of language than I used to be. And I don’t edit personal email and text messages that I receive, as Al apparently does. Calling a lapse in grammar or bending of a style rule a “word crime” makes me uncomfortable, as does the song’s scolding tone.
But this is Weird Al. It’s all in good fun. His song uses a slinky beat and clever lyrics to share a lot of solid tips for writers and editors. If “Word Crimes” helps someone remember the difference between its and it’s, then I am willing to smile and sing along.
The American Copy Editors Society recently shared this video via social media. It’s about headline writing at the Winnipeg Free Press.
As I watched the 11-minute piece, memories of my own newspaper experiences came to mind. The personalities, editing skills and headline-writing styles of the editors at Winnipeg mirror those in the newsrooms in Greensboro, Raleigh and Los Angeles where I have worked.
Editors who write headlines care deeply about what they do. And they do it in relative anonymity. There’s no Pulitzer Prize for headline writing — not yet, at least.
Headlines are still important, in print and online. They tell us what’s news, and they lure us into reading more. Headlines reflect not only the content of the stories, but also the tone. And they need a human touch.