From the Editorís Desk

Itís self-indulgent, and considered bad form, for reporters and editors to write about reporting and editing.

But Iím going to do it anyway. Forgive me.

I just attended my first Editors Canada conference and spent the weekend in the company of word nerds. As Baltimore Sun night editor John E. McIntyre put it, editing offers a living to the worldís ďintroverts, bookworms and teachersí pets.Ē

But the stereotype only goes so far. You may imagine editors as pedantic scolds, sworn to defend arcane rules of grammar and delighting in their superior knowledge of language.

Instead I found a group of people whose mission is to bring clarity and polish to the written word. This means throwing out the rule book if the rules interfere with the telling of the story, just as much as it means correcting a verb tense or removing an ill-placed comma.

Everything we read is edited, or it should be. Newspapers and magazines of course, but also great and not-so-great books; packaging labels and board games; government documents and assembly instructions.

Editors advise even the most successful authors on plot, structure, tone, consistency, brevity and accuracy Ė meaning accurate facts and accurate use of words. (Speaking of accuracy, itís ironic that I write this in an issue where we also run a correction to a story from last week Ė sorry about that Erik!)

This isnít to blow my own horn. One thing I learned this weekend is that I have mountains to climb before I can take my place amongst these under-celebrated champions. But Iím also a writer, and Iíve learned that a good editor is a best friend to writers and readers alike.

Now to start climbing those mountainsÖ

 

Write to our troops!