George Daniels, my friend and colleague at the University of Alabama, has developed an excellent exercise on some of the management dilemmas that editors face in dealing with reporters. The exercise is based on some of the guidelines that editors should use in building their relationships with reporters that are outlined in Chapter 12 of Journalism: Who, What, When, Where, Why and How. These dilemmas are designed to get students to think about the dual roles editors have as keepers of the journalistic culture and as managers of people. (Posted Feb. 2, 2005)
Most of the editing students I have taught over the last three decades share this trait: they are reluctant to change anything in an editing exercise, even when it is obviously wrong. Getting them to where they will correct grammar, spelling and style errors in the first step. But to be good editors, of course, they must go far beyond this. They must learn to recognize and attack wordiness – the heart disease of good writing. Here are some lecture/discussion notes about what to tell editing students about wordiness – how to recognize the symptoms and cure the disease.
Getting your editing students in the right frame of mind to become editors is a challenge for any editing teacher. JPROF.com has a set of discussion notes that contain many of the points you might want to make with your students at the beginning of an editing class. Above all, students should be taught that editors are the people who make decisions about the entire publication or web site, and they have to take responsibility for what is included in the publication. A reporter’s mistake becomes their mistake if they do not take steps to correct it.