The National Capital Region branch has a new name: Editors Ottawa–Gatineau by Ruth Bradley-St-Cyr

With our national association changing its brand name from Editors’ Association of Canada to Editors Canada this summer, the time was right for the NCR branch to change its name as well. The impetus behind the change, from the branch executive’s point of view, was to make our seminars—far and away our biggest source of revenue—easier to find online since attendance had been dropping due to increased competition. This search engine optimization (SEO) is the same reason that the history magazine The Beaver changed its name to Canada’s History (well, they had other issues as well…). The point is, the Internet doesn’t do subtle, it doesn’t do abstruse, it doesn’t do equivocal. It does precise. And no one searches for “National Capital Region” when they want to find an editing seminar in Ottawa or Gatineau.

In May the branch executive consulted in person with members and found general support for a name change. Then we launched an online discussion to include people who had not been at the May meeting. In September we polled the membership, Survey Monkey fashion, and got a great voter turnout. From our 177 members, we received 80 responses—a 45% response rate that would be the envy of any survey company. The choices for a new name were Ottawa, Ottawa–Gatineau, and Eastern Ontario–Western Quebec. Of those who responded, 77% agreed that the branch name should be changed and 76% agreed that the new name should be Ottawa–Gatineau. Paired with the national rebranding, the new name of our branch is now Editors Ottawa–Gatineau.

A couple of members who did not support the name change were concerned that the rebranding would cost money, but since we are only rebranding once—both national and branch at the same time—it will not cost us any extra.

We also asked members why they supported the name change. The response was evenly split (40%/40%) between two main reasons:

  1. Because “National Capital Region” is understood only by some people
  2. To improve search engine results when we advertise seminars

Some respondents who supported the name change also sent comments:

  • It’s shorter. As an editor (and a marketer), brevity and punchiness are always my main concerns. Also, not everyone understands “NCR.”
  • To be specific and clear.
  • To be more inclusive but also to be realistic about where most of the branch’s activities occur. It gives an idea of the central “broadcast” point of the branch.
  • Because it lends itself to an unhelpful acronym.

Over the next few weeks, you will see the new brand roll out. Our branch’s Executive Director, Maureen Moyes, is all ready to go with the new branding materials sent by the national association, into which we will plug our new shorter, punchier name.

A Good Bunch

Cheers to all who came out to the EAC-NCR’s Wine & Cheese!

EAC National Capital Region’s annual Wine & Cheese reception: Be sure to RSVP 

The Howells, long since recovered from their adventures on Gilligan’s Island, have been invited. And so are you.

Brush up on your wine and cheese trivia: Thurston knows his Chateaux, and Lovey knows her cheese!

Enjoy some word games, or just hang out with the Smart Set. Pearls and ascots optional.

Wednesday, November 19 at 7:30 pm

Capital Hill Hotel & Suites

88 Albert Street, Ottawa

Admission: $10 · RSVP ASAP

DON’T MISS OUR LATE FALL/EARLY WINTER SEMINARS

It`s getting colder, so let`s hunker down in warm surroundings. And what better way than to sip coffee and engage in a seminar with your writing and editing peers? Writing Proposals is a new seminar, which started off as a presentation during one of our Speaker Nights last winter. Participants were keen on Chris Lendrum`s talk, so we thought a half-day seminar would satisfy those with an additional thirst for information on writing proposals. Time is running out on this November 6 event.

Veteran seminar leader Elizabeth Macfie is back on November 18 for the perennially popular Practical Proofreading. Trained proofreaders see the errors that escape other eyes because they read in a special way using tools and techniques that focus their attention on everything in the document. She`ll show you how it`s done. You are encouraged to bring a laptop (PC or Mac) equipped with MS Word 2007 or newer to facilitate completing the exercises.

Many freelancers eventually find their way to working in the federal government. However, the requirements for government report editing can seem daunting. In this December 3 seminar, which will suit both freelancers and government workers, Laurel Hyatt will demystify the process of Editing Government Reports—from the legislative requirements that start the ball rolling, to the sign-off before publication.

What do you do when your client sends you a document to copy edit, but you quickly realize it needs much more? Substantive Editing requires a whole range of editing skills that go far beyond stylistic and copy editing. In this first seminar of the winter, instructor Jennifer Latham will share with you tips and strategies for dealing with the inherent dangers of substantive editing. This includes knowing when to rewrite and how to avoid being seduced by the text. Share your questions with her during this January 12, 2015, seminar.

Online registration for seminars is available at http://www.editors.ca/branches/ncr/seminars

October Speaker Night – New Technologies: Automated Perfection

Don’t miss Elizabeth Macfie this Wednesday, October 15, at 7:30 pm!

Continuing on our new-technology theme, October’s speaker night will feature a new application that can help us be more efficient at traditional editing tasks.

Elizabeth Macfie will demonstrate PerfectIt, a new application that automates many of our most mundane consistency checks—it’s search and replace on steroids. Watch live as PerfectIt crunches through manuscripts, chewing up capitalization, spelling and punctuation inconsistencies in its path. Learn how software is doing more of our editorial heavy lifting, liberating us for higher-level work only humans can do—for now.

perfectit-presentn

When: Wednesday, October 15, 7:30 pm
Where: Capital Hill Hotel & Suites, 88 Albert Street
Free for members, $10 for non-members

Speaker Night Recap: Magic Tricks and Reference Management

By Jean Rath

When I was in high school in the 70s, I collected references by jotting their details down on index cards. I then used the information to carefully write out my bibliographies according to my teachers’ instructions. This was tedious, but the bibliography instructions were clear. If I got it right, I got better marks. I never dreamed of a day when all of that could be magically done for me. At the September Speaker Night, Carolyn Brown showed us that magic.

Reference management software has been around for fifteen years or so. It’s a tool that allows researchers to collect, manage, and insert information into documents in the preferred style. My inner teenager was most impressed, considering those meticulously written bibliographies. With this software, a reference inserted into a text will automatically update the bibliography. Carolyn also demonstrated how, with one click, an entire bibliography could be restyled.The reaction of Speaker Night attendees was the same as if she’d pulled a rabbit out of her hat.

The shades of my handwritten index card lists were also rattling around my head as I watched Carolyn demonstrate the ease with which she could build up her database of citations. When she found a useful journal article, she sent the metadata to a folder in her software with one click. She cautioned that it was important to proofread the text, since there may be errors in the downloaded data.

Carolyn focused on two software products: EndNote and Mendeley. EndNote has become an industry leader; it’s compatible with MS Word and has its own ribbon. The reference library on the computer syncs with the version on the Web, and can be shared—although Carolyn cautioned that she finds the online interface a bit clunky. Many of the hundreds of reference styles in the industry are available on EndNote, allowing for “magical” automatic changes in style. By contrast, Mendeley is free. It uses different terms than EndNote, but the way it works is similar. It has one feature not found in EndNote: when a PDF is dragged and dropped into Mendeley, the software will read and record the metadata.

Word also has a reference management feature, but it is only capable of the basics. Carolyn doesn’t recommend it for anything bigger than a university essay. She further advised that when choosing reference management software, it’s important to know which reference style will be used, and which databases the information will be extracted from.

Reference management software may look like magic, but in fact it’s a usable tool for editors. There is an overwhelming amount of information out there, and Carolyn’s talk provided a comforting peek into the ways that writers and researchers can constrain all that data into something useful.

hot topic: Carolyn Brown will talk reference management software at this month’s speaker night

The major theme at the national conference in Toronto this June was new technologies — some that are changing the nature of what we work on, some that help us be more efficient at tasks we’ve always done.

Carolyn Brown will help us carry that theme forward into EAC’s fall season in Ottawa with a presentation on reference management software — EndNote and Mendeley. Learn how these applications can help you manage references, style them, and add them to documents. The best part? It can all be done automatically.

Coffee, tea and light refreshments will be served.

When: Wednesday, September 17, 7:30 pm
Where: Capital Hill Hotel & Suites, 88 Albert Street
How Much: Free for members, $10 for non-members

Now Available: On-Site Seminars from the EAC-NCR

The National Capital Region branch is proud to be introducing some dynamic new seminars this fall to add to its roster of old favourites. All seminars are designed for editors, but equally appeal to a variety of other communication specialists wishing to upgrade their skills. The NCR branch has built its reputation as a trusted source of quality training; its instructors are seasoned editors whose workshops engage participants through discussion and hands-on exercises and equip them with invaluable communication skills.

Writing and Editing for the Web is the first of the new seminars this fall. It has been developed by Moira White, whose many workshops have been an integral part of the NCR branch’s professional development program over the past several years.

Frances Peck, in demand for her seminars at EAC branches across Canada, is bringing her popular Grammar Boot Camp to Ottawa for the first time. We recommend that you register early if you don’t want to miss out on this extreme workout.

The last of our three new workshops this fall will be given by instructor Chris Lendrum. Some of you may remember Chris from one of our Speaker Nights last winter. We were so impressed that we decided to approach him about delivering a half-day seminar to share his knowledge on Writing Proposals.

The full lineup of fall seminars is listed below. Simply click on the link for a full description of those that interest you.

Writing and Editing for the Web – September 23 (9 a.m.–4 p.m.)
Starting a Freelance Career – October 4 (9 a.m.–12 p.m.)
Social Media 101 – October 4 (1–4 p.m.)
Grammar Boot Camp – October 23 (9 a.m.–4 p.m.)
The Secrets of Syntax – October 24 (9 a.m.–4 p.m.)
Writing Proposals – November 6 (9 a.m.–12 p.m.)
Practical Proofreading – November 18 (9 a.m.–4 p.m.)

This year, the National Capital Region branch is offering more opportunities for government departments and businesses to take advantage of instruction while keeping their employees on-site. Instructors come to the workplace to teach the seminars, which can be tailored to meet client needs. In some cases, a full-day seminar can be condensed to a half-day. These learning opportunities used to be offered upon request, whereas now they are officially available and the information on half- and full-day seminars is published on the branch’s website.

In addition to the seminars available at the Capital Hill Hotel and Suites, communication officials can also choose from Fundamentals of Technical Writing, Writing Strategic Briefing Notes, and Advanced Writing Style Techniques.

These in-house seminars are an excellent business opportunity for the branch. Word has already spread and, by early August, the branch had received its first in-house seminar request.

New Workshops Add to Old Favourites

The National Capital Region branch is proud to be introducing some dynamic new seminars this fall to add to its roster of old favourites. All seminars are designed for editors, but equally appeal to a variety of other communication specialists wishing to upgrade their skills. The NCR branch has built its reputation as a trusted source of quality training; its instructors are seasoned editors whose workshops engage participants through discussion and hands-on exercises and equip them with invaluable communication skills.

Writing and Editing for the Web is the first of the new seminars this fall. It has been developed by Moira White, whose many workshops have been an integral part of the NCR branch’s professional development program over the past several years.

Frances Peck, in demand for her seminars at EAC branches across Canada, is bringing her popular Grammar Boot Camp to Ottawa for the first time. We recommend that you register early if you don’t want to miss out on this extreme workout.

The last of our three new workshops this fall will be given by instructor Chris Lendrum. Some of you may remember Chris from one of our Speaker Nights last winter. We were so impressed that we decided to approach him about delivering a half-day seminar to share his knowledge on Writing Proposals.

The full lineup of fall seminars is listed below. Simply click on the link for a full description of those that interest you.

• Writing and Editing for the Web – September 23 (9 a.m.–4 p.m.)
• Starting a Freelance Career – October 4 (9 a.m.–12 p.m.)
• Social Media 101 – October 4 (1–4 p.m.)
• Grammar Boot Camp – October 23 (9 a.m.–4 p.m.)
• The Secrets of Syntax – October 24 (9 a.m.–4 p.m.)
• Writing Proposals – November 6 (9 a.m.–12 p.m.)
• Practical Proofreading – November 18 (9 a.m.–4 p.m.)

What we learn from our mishaps: Tips from editors’ blunders

By Antonia McGuire

Most people would rather not repeat their most embarrassing editorial gaffes, especially in a room full of professionals. But as mortifying or daunting as it may be, sharing these experiences with each other offers an opportunity to learn and grow. Besides, no one’s perfect!

Our last speaker night featured local editors, writers and members themselves, who checked their egos at the door, and chimed in on a lively roundtable discussion. Over 15 brave souls kept the story-telling alive with tales of their biggest blunders and what they learned from them.

Here’s the digest version.

1. Sleep in your clothes. This one is pretty basic but there is something to be said for simply being prepared. Especially when you have a big meeting with clients the next day!

Editor’s tip: To avoid a rushing around frantically in morning, set aside your outfit the night before. Better yet, when travelling for work be sure to pack your work clothes, including undergarments and all those kinds of essentials. Lie them all out on your bed before stuffing everything into a carry-on piece… that way you won’t just have jogging pants to wear to a business meeting. Eeek.

2. Know your weaknesses and arrange your work around them.

Editors’s tip: If you know you have a tendency to be late, set your deadline a week ahead of schedule.

3. Confirm the goods were received. How many times have you submitted the end product to a client or editor on deadline, only to receive nada in return? No hint of, “yup everything is a-okay on this end.” So naturally, panic sets in when you realize your deadline has passed.

Editor’s tip: Ask client to reply, confirming the deliverable was received. Use read receipt feature in Outlook.

4. Proofread every round as if it’s a new draft – with fresh eyes if possible.

Editor’s tip: try reading each paragraph backwards, starting from the end to the beginning.

5. When networking or trying to make a connection, be respectful and professional. There is an acceptable yet strategic way to reach out to potential clients or new editors to pitch… but pointing out their mistakes in x publication, book, article, etc., is not recommended if you actually want to get work or get a call back. Remain courteous, professional and attentive to their needs at all times. Because a real know-it-all is a real turn off.

6. “Tolkien was not a misogynist.” Find out who you are speaking to before offering your opinion to others, especially before going on a rant in an elevator to the editor of that famous book series, for example.

7. Norwegians know their grammar, but write like Yoda. To make a long story short, check your ego at the door and don’t be afraid to use your reference books or dictionaries to look things up. Always fact-check and proofread your work (sort of obvious) but it’s amazing how many “tweaks” one can find after third and fourth reviews.

8. Commentary or feedback that doesn’t improve the text feels insulting. The 360 feedback loop we get from the editorial process is essential to producing the best quality work possible. And … avoiding career-crushing mistakes or factual errors. Professionally speaking, we all need to learn how to take feedback – the good with the bad. Novice writers especially tend to struggle with this. To survive and thrive in this business, you develop thicker skin and a sense of humour. For editors, reviewers and writers alike, there is a way to give constructive feedback. Ranting and raving is not one of them. If you’re being defensive and difficult to work with, chances are it will be your last chance with that publication.

9. Adjective pile-ups make for translation problems. When working with bilingual documents, it is common to discover the occasional awkward English sentence that is difficult to translate. Editing is an iterative process. Practice doing text concordances by comparing English to French. If your language skills aren’t up to snuff, ask a colleague to help you look it over.

10. Double negatives can stymie readers in both languages. Whether it’s due to poor grammar, false punctuation or simply that the writer failed to explain something clearly, double negatives only confuse the reader. Editors shine in this respect by adding clarity, consistency and polishing to pieces when necessary.

11. Know your terminology limits. Use this rhyme to remember: when in doubt, check it out. Some editors and writers who specialize in technical, medical or financial writing will have acquired this in-depth knowledge and terminology from their studies or years of experience in the field. However, most of us don’t, so acknowledge that limitation and compensate accordingly by using back-up resources, contractors or by reading up!

12. Google before you diss. Or, just don’t throw insults out into the public via your Twitter or Facebook account – ever. It’s a small industry once you’ve been in it for awhile. You never know who will be listening or watching.

13. Rigorous checking of dictionary is a must.

14. Extra-rigorous checking of dictionary. Did I mention that?

Okay, now it’s your turn! What did you learn from an editorial mistake? Did you find this post helpful?
Share your thoughts or suggest a blog topic.