This semester I have been acting as the publications editor for Weber State University’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter. The role has taught me a lot about editing my peers work, assigning content and creating headlines for newsletter and blog pieces. Communications 3220 has been a great mirror and resource for this position. However, I wish I had the tools provided in this weeks reading to help me all semester long.
In order to really grasp the role of being an editor, this week I also asked my employer if I could edit some articles that get published in their quarterly advertising magazine. My employer, Get Away Today, was thrilled that I was willing to take a look at some copy and asked if I would even be willing to edit a children’s book that the president of the company is going to have published. I was both excited and intimidated by the task. I rarely see the president of the company, and now I was being asked to edit his work!
Heading into this project, I remembered what the chapter said about being a “writing coach.” This way I could keep in mind to work beside authors of the articles and children’s book I was editing. I also referred to the coaching tips on page 314 of the supplemental reading to help me feel confident in my edits.
The two tips I was able to use the most this week were “give constructive feedback” and “be specific.” I edited a total of three articles. All of which I thought were strong and appropriate for the target audience, but all three had grammar mistakes. I was able to approach the authors and be specific about the mistakes I found and compliment them on the areas I felt would be really appealing to the readers. This went over well and I feel they appreciated my feedback.
Now, the more intimidating task was looking at the children’s book the president of the company had written. Luckily for me, I genuinely enjoyed it. However, I still had an edit or two to almost every other page. I noticed that there were some inconsistencies in the words he chose to capitalize to emphasize the word. For example, the story played on animals at the zoo, and on most pages the animal name was capitalized but not on every page. Also, I noticed that most of the book held a rhyme and a rhythm but some of the pages missed the rhyme. This posed a challenge for me because I had to remember that this wasn’t my story.
After I compiled my edits of the children’s story, I was able to speak to the author about my suggestions. When I spoke to him, I remembered to lead with a question and see if there was a reason he wanted to emphasize some animal’s names with the capitalizations and not others. He said that was a good catch and he had intended to capitalize each name. Then I was able to read a couple pages aloud to him and explain my thought about the rhyme. Looking at it together, we added a couple words here and took out a couple words there and both agreed it sounded much better. He was very kind and thankful for my help.
These are the first things that I have edited in the professional world and I am surprised by the amount of pride I received from the experience. It showed me that although my own writing isn’t perfect, I have still learned enough to help others improve their writing.