In the few months that I've been copy-editing for the sports section at The Alligator, I can tell you one thing: I take pride in doing my job. I feel like every publication should work together as a team and it is my job to make my writers look even better than they do on their own. I try my best to read with a clear mind, and to be objective to the authors I edit because writing is a process and everyone needs feedback on their work because it's very easy to get off track and become mundane. At the same time, we are moving into a new age in journalism where convergence is key. Being able to not only write, but editing your own work and producing media content are becoming the new tools that can provide longevity to one’s career. And it’s becoming even more important to be diligent as writers and submit flawless work as budget cuts in this industry have shown that if you can’t perform on multiple platforms, you’re gone.
With that said, the complete extinction of editors will never happen in this industry. Although there might be a decrease in the number, their jobs will forever be necessary to produce flawless news. Editors are not only the trial audience but they also provide fresh eyes to content. And I believe having an open forum for communication between writers and editors is an essential part in every newsroom, aided with the editing protocol like the one used by The Charlotte Observer. The principle that stuck out the most to me in this protocol was: “Copy editors realize it is not our names on the stories, but the reporters’, so we don’t edit arbitrarily. We edit to improve.” This notion is something I believe every writer should embrace because it creates that open forum unlike the protocol at The Oklahoman which discourages it.
Going back to my mention of this new movement in journalism, the New York Times video featuring executive editor Bill Keller reinforced a point I’ve learned before from Mindy McAdams and Norman Lewis: KNOW EVERYTHING. I know that’s vague, but essentially it is the truth. From software programs like Adobe Photoshop and InDesign to online platforms like Tumblr, Twitter and Delicious, being familiar with these tools makes the difference for journalism graduates in the job market and those who have been in the business for years. The simple frustration that veterans in the business are having working with new media these days was summed up when Keller said: “I’ve been telling people that it feels a little like we just enrolled in graduate school, but we forgot to take any of the undergraduate courses on the way there.”Even more the reason for why students like myself should take it upon ourselves to learn these new platforms so we can help these old people out.