Look Who Is Talking! Meet the instructor for our Substantive Editing seminar

jlatham-2016-1Jennifer Latham started her editing business in 1998. The same year she volunteered as the Public Relations Chair for the NCR Branch. She led volunteers in organizing an EAC conference in Ottawa and later went on to be the Chair of the NCR Branch and the National President of EAC.

“I was very fortunate to have been mentored by senior editors, who taught me the ins and outs of the editing business. From the very beginning, I was constantly asking questions about editing standards, how to estimate jobs, and other practicalities of the work,” says Jennifer.

For the past 11 years, Jennifer has managed editing and production services at the Office of the Auditor General of Canada. For her upcoming seminar, Jennifer will present in her area of expertise —substantive editing. She looks forward to sharing tips and strategies for dealing with the inherent dangers of substantive editing, such as asserting your editorial authority and knowing when to suggest improvements for the author to make and when to rewrite yourself.

Don’t miss this great seminar on October 14! Register at http://www.editors.ca/branches/ottawa-gatineau/seminars

September Speaker Night – Speed Networking by Peter Perryman

Wednesday September 21 sees the new season of Ottawa-Gatineau Editors Canada monthly meetings after the summer hiatus. These are your opportunities to socialize, network, hear from invited speakers, and contribute to your local association.

For our first meeting we are holding a speed networking event. These are commonly-used formats for people to meet each other in a friendly group environment that allows everyone to contribute and benefit from each other’s experience.

Elizabeth Macfie, who hosted a very popular speed-networking event at last year’s conference, will introduce the session and explain the format. In short summary, participants meet one-on-one at a table and spend just a few minutes introducing themselves and highlighting aspects of their professional lives, before moving on at the sound of a given signal to meet someone else.

It may be helpful to think in advance what information you would like to share in the two or three minutes you have with those you meet. For example,

  • Your name;
  • How long a member of Editors Canada and the local branch;
  • Any past, present or future roles within the association;
  • Any previous career or job experience;
  • Do you work in-house, freelance, or some other related career;
  • Do you have a preferred genre (fiction, scientific, legal, etc);
  • What’s the biggest challenge for you in editing (or aspect of your job);
  • What’s the favourite part of editing (or aspect of your job);
  • What would you like to get out of the branch meetings;
  • What questions you want to ask of your colleague;
  • Share an interest outside of your professional life;

These are only suggestions of course, but if you have business cards don’t forget to bring them, or other contact details you want to share.

The evening begins at 6.30 with coffee and cookies, and the speed networking begins at 6.45 for approximately 1 hour.

When: Wednesday, September 21, 6:30 p.m.

Where: Good Companions Seniors’ Centre, 670 Albert Street (at Empress)

Free for members, $10 for non-members

Parking: Just behind the building, off Empress Avenue.

Hope to see you there!

Volunteers Wanted! by Suzanne Purkis

As our members know, Ottawa-Gatineau Branch of Editors Canada is hosting the 2017 conference. Plans for the conference are being drawn up right now, and it promises to be an exciting event. Such a large-scale affair depends heavily on the efforts of dedicated volunteers for its success, and we are looking for help. Specific positions and their responsibilities are given below:

All volunteers will participate in weekly teleconferences with conference committee and national office staff; meetings take about an hour.

 Volunteer Coordinator

  • Recruit and coordinate conference volunteers, including on-site volunteers at the conference (e.g., to set-up/tear-down registration area, staff registration desk, run errands, etc.).
  • Compile contact lists of volunteers; we need this info for thanking and recognizing them, such as the annual report, website (with links to their websites and/or ODE listings), list on program, etc.
  • Prepare schedules for on-site volunteers and coordinate their requirements.
  • Ongoing communication with volunteers via email and phone.
  • On-site training or instruction for volunteers at the conference.

 Speaker Coordinator

  • Research and compile contact information for potential speakers for discussion and selection.
  • Coordinate outside speakers.
    • Approach selected speakers as directed by conference co-chairs.
    • When speakers accept, follow up with standard info request (e.g., bio, photo, technical requirements, handouts, presenter agreement); if speakers decline, thank them.
  • Coordinate Editors Canada member speakers.
    • Prepare call for conference proposals (modified from previous conferences).
    • Organize and compile proposals into spreadsheet to facilitate evaluating, selecting and tracking speakers (conference committee and advisory committee selects speakers).
    • Inform speakers if they’ve been selected or not selected.
  • Handle all communication with speakers: changes to session, follow up for missing elements, requirements for materials or equipment.
  • Edit session information provided by speakers as needed: summaries, titles and bios; this information will be used on website, printed program, promotion, etc.
  • Assign sessions to rooms in time for final program design.

 Social Media Coordinator

  • Initiate and coordinate conference communication and promotion on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr (on Editors Canada’s account), Pinterest, Instagram, blogs, podcasts, YouTube, etc.

We will also be looking to fill the following positions: Billeting Coordinator, Conference Buddies Coordinator, Local Experience Coordinator, Program Coordinator, Session Host Coordinator, Speed Mentoring Coordinator, Speed Networking Coordinator, and Vendor Fair Coordinator.

If you are interested, please let us know at conference2017_chair@editors.ca. We hope to hear from you soon!

May Speaker Night – Jodi Di Menna on Big Picture Editing

Our Speaker Night in May will have Jodi Di Menna presenting on Big Picture Editing: Content planning with a purpose, from the editor-in-chief’s perspective.

Whether it’s to serve a readership, drive traffic, support a strategic message or simply to impart important information, there’s always a big-picture objective behind the written content we edit. From content planning for a website or hardcopy launch or re-launch, through to lineup selection, right down to story structure and word choice, the thought processes that precede the final stages of editing are as crucial to hitting the mark as getting the language just right. This session will draw on the speaker’s experience as founding editor and editor-in-chief of small magazines, as well as her role as senior editor for an organization whose key audience is the chief decision makers on Parliament Hill, to provide examples of how the big picture filters down to the subtleties of how we write and edit the content that supports it. It will also incorporate the viewpoints of several editors-in-chief and communications executives to provide a broad perspective of how editors and content producers can work together to achieve a goal, from concept to completion.

Jodi Di Menna spent ten years working for magazines, and led the launch of one small magazine, the re-inventing of another, and the re-launch of a couple of corporate websites. She is now Senior Writer/Editor for the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

When: Wednesday, May 18, 6:30 p.m.

Where: Good Companions Seniors Centre, 670 Albert Street (at Empress)

Free for members, $10 for non-members

Parking: Just behind the building, off Empress Avenue.

Report on March 16 Speaker Night by Bhavana Gopinath

Our branch’s listening event on March 16 turned out to be an interesting evening, with a spirited exchange of ideas between our members. In his address, Tom Vradenburg stated that for a volunteer-run organization such as Editors Canada, it is important that we all find ways to help in a way that benefits both the organization and the volunteering member.  As he put it, volunteering with your local branch is not just about padding up your resume, but also about “building relationships, one taskforce at a time”.  As an example: if a member has an idea for a program, the Branch will support and organize help to aid the member run with the idea to bring it to fruition. The Branch is able to provide more focused programming for its members, and the member hones their organizational skills and get to share in-depth ideas with the speaker. This becomes a win-win situation for both parties.

Our members provided several inputs, particularly in the area of mentoring:

Mentoring programs were always welcome; the recent “Speed mentoring” event was quite successful. Some of our members pointed out that while Mentoring (with a capital M) might not always be possible due to time constraints, they would be open to offering speed mentoring for newer members, or a more informal mentoring, a kind of “buddy system”.

Mentoring is also a great way of retaining and even bringing back people who may have left the organization. It would be great to hear their perspectives, not just from an editing point of view, but in a more comprehensive manner.  These “elders” have vast editing and life experience that others could learn from.

In a similar vein, it would also be great to have talks by experts in related areas of our lives, and not confine ourselves to the discipline of editing. Some suggested topics were: managing a freelance business, financial planning, mental health, ageing, and what employers look for in editor while hiring.

Mentoring could also be two-way, given that many of our new members seem to be younger. Perhaps there is an opportunity here for more experienced editors to learn more about issues that engage newer editors.

While formal mentoring plans are being discussed at the National level of Editors Canada, there are things that can be done at our branch level. Perhaps when new members join us, their welcome email could ask if they needed a mentor, and the branch might be able to do some match-making.

If you missed our meeting, and would like to share your thoughts on volunteering and mentoring, please let us know in the comments below. We would love to hear from you.

 

 

How editing contributes to a stronger democracy by Gael Spivak

You may think that being an editor for the federal government is boring. So staid: all those rules, all those bureaucrats.

It’s actually a lot of fun. The topics are interesting and I get to help a lot of people.

What kind of topics?

I’ve worked as a writer, editor, coordinator and communications advisor, in three government departments.

Topics I’ve worked in include food safety, food labelling, organic food, animal health, plant health, biotechnology, ethics and government, road salts, and flu. Lots of flu: seasonal flu, pandemic flu, avian flu and swine flu.

All that government-speak

Bureaucratic language is a problem in government. It’s not that it is technical or scientific language. It’s the government style and tone.

People pick this up when they first start working in government. Because they are smart and adaptable, they quickly start writing to match what they see around them.

But this kind of writing is unclear. The sentences have too many thoughts and the verbs are usually way at the end of the sentences.

The writing is also dense. Because many of the writers are policy people who’ve been examining issues for many years, they are experts. So they want to give a solid background when they write, not realizing that it’s too much information for a non-expert.

How does editing help?

As an editor, I build a bridge between the experts and their audience (often the public). I help the experts write more clear text, so that Canadians can understand what to do to be safe, to comply with legislation and to keep dangerous pests out of the country.

I also help people participate in their government, by making legislation, policies and decisions more understandable. Editing helps build a stronger democracy.

 

Gael Spivak works in communications for the federal government. She specializes in plain language writing and editing. Her Editors Canada work includes

  • membership chair for Editors Ottawa–Gatineau
  • co-chair of conference 2012
  • co-chair of conference 2015 (Editing Goes Global)
  • director of volunteer relations
  • director of training development
  • vice-president

Meet the Instructor: Eight-Step Editing by Moira White

 

Moira White

 

Moira White entered the work world as a social worker and later moved into social policy. In both professions, she found that her organizational skills, attention to detail, and love of words were pointing her in a new direction—the world of editing. Currently a freelance editor, writer, and trainer with both public and private sector clients, she has decades of experience editing print and electronic publications. Moira is a director of professional standards for, and a past president of, Editors Canada.

Eight-Step Editing is one of the most practical workshops in our canon. It takes the skills that are second nature to many professional editors and breaks them into a sequence of tasks that will improve the readability of the final product. If you’re an editor, whatever your experience level, this seminar will help you develop a systematic approach to editing and identify functions you may have been performing only intuitively. If you’re a writer, the Eight-Step process will give you techniques for improving your manuscript before it goes to an editor. This full-day seminar is offered on Thursday, April 14, 2016 and registration closes one week prior to the event.  To register, go to https://www.gifttool.com/registrar/ShowEventDetails?ID=29&EID=20352.

Editor Wanted: What writers seek in an Editor by Ayan Ibrahim

Becoming an editor isn’t as easy a task as one may think. What’s even harder is venturing through the world of editors to find one that suit your needs. It may not necessarily be because you cannot find a qualified editor. Rather, because of the vast number of skill sets and styles that each editor is in possession of, leading you to search for one that is best suited for the task at hand. There is, however, a basic standard of qualifications that an editor must meet. If one is found to be lacking in this area, there is no doubt, that one’s services to those who seek an editor will be futile.

It’s important to have expectations when seeking an editor. However, you may now be wondering what realistic expectation should you have when attempting your endeavor. This is the exact question that this article is meant to answer. As you may have already noticed, attempting to address each and every desired and undesired qualification of an editor extends beyond the aim of this piece. For this reason, I seek to highlight the two most important qualifications I believe, as a publisher and writer, that one should look for in an editor.

It is obvious that an editor should in some capacity be versed in the many skill sets of editing: proofreading, editing grammatical mistakes, checking spelling errors, fact verification, the ability to reorganize thoughts and ideas in a comprehensible manner, as well as aiding in revisions. Undoubtedly, the list goes on. However, although competency in these areas are a given, not all editors have the same technique when editing. I find the diversity, in the way in which each editor utilizes their skill set, refreshing. The differences in skill techniques allows for publications, which may have similar content, to be worked from alternate angles. These angles then provide readers with alternate perspectives which work to enhance their understanding of the subject matter.

Due in part to the large emphasis on editors to have a solid skill set in the art of editing, there is an element that falls short of being recognized for its importance, although it is crucial. That is, an editor and author should be in sync. What I mean by “in sync” is the ability for an editor to seamlessly blend their editing skills into an author’s work in a way that does not take away from the authenticity of the author’s work. Working with other writers as an editor and publisher, I have come to learn about the sacredness of an author’s work. Alterations are necessary. But only to the point where it does not completely change the meaning of what is being said by the writer. You also begin to learn that there is a fine line between pleasing your authors and doing your job as an editor. This does not happen overnight of course, but this is where practice and open communication becomes imperative. Where there is a lack of communication, there opens up the possibility for expectations to be lost in translation, resulting in miscommunication between the two parties and subsequently a failed publication.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a step-by-step playbook guide which I could give you to help you perfect your editing rapport with each and every writer you meet. As with everything in life, it is always through trial and error. I know, as I can speak from first hand experience. You just need to learn to accept all the experience that comes your way. Work through it, and create passionately.

Ayan Ibrahim is a 23 year old Somali-Canadian who is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of Qurtuba Publishing House. She is a writer, aspiring photographer, and polyglot. Professionally, she is a practicing registered nurse. Her writings focus mainly on cultural, social, political, and health-related issues. She and her sisters Ilhan and Hodan were guest speakers at our Speakers Night in September 2015. 

February Speaker Night -Developing and maintaining a house style guide by Tom Vradenburg

House style guides often start from a base of Canadian Style or other relevant, all-purpose style guide, but then exceptions and special terminology are added. In some cases, there’s a formal process for approving additions and tweaks. Getting people outside the publishing/communications departments of an organization to follow it is often an issue.

Get advice and guidance on developing and maintaining a house style guide from Kinneret Globerman, Marcia Fine and Mary Jean McAleer. Each will present for five to seven minutes on their particular experiences. Discussion from the floor follows.

When: Wednesday, February 17, 6:30 p.m.

Where: Good Companions Seniors Centre, 670 Albert Street (at Empress)

Free for members, $10 for non-members

Parking: Just behind the building, off Empress Avenue.

Winter 2016 Seminars

Editors Ottawa-Gatineau welcomes the New Year and invites you to peruse the winter offering of six excellent seminars.

Elizabeth Macfie will return to lead Practical Proofreading on January 19. In this seminar, participants will watch the 19 places where errors hide in text and layout. She’ll also show how to read in a special way using tools and techniques that focus their attention on everything in the document. This helps proofreaders to catch the errors that escape other eyes.

Academic Editing is a new offering, and will be taught on February 11 by Ruth Bradley-St-Cyr, an English professor and recent PhD from the University of Ottawa. In addition to her work on several academic books and journals, Ruth has also come on board to chair the Ottawa-Gatineau Branch this year. This half-day seminar is geared to disciplines in the Social Sciences and Humanities and is designed for academics, academics in training, and those who edit them. The course takes you from peer review to proofreading, with a special stop at editing references and bibliographies.

Veteran instructor Graham Young returns on February 26 to teach the popular Electronic Editing course. This seminar will teach participants a variety of electronic editing skills that can save valuable time and simplify work, particularly for those who are not taking advantage of all the editing horsepower that Microsoft Word has to offer.

Moira White and Beth Macfie will again team up to offer Copy Editing II. The March 22 seminar is subtitled Judgement Calls and Added Value, and the content is best expressed by the instructors themselves. “In this seminar, we share with you some of the knowledge, techniques, and tips we have accumulated — through experience and study—as we moved from basic to specialist copy editors. Our hope is that they will help you gain the expertise and experience necessary to make more complicated decisions about and contribute more value to each project.”

Moira will return solo on April 14 to teach Eight-Step Editing. By the end of the day, these eight steps will become your future mantra: Shorten Sentences, Take Out the Trash, Eliminate the Negatives, Deflate Long Words and Phrases, Eliminate the Equations, Activate the Passives, Lead with Strength and Parade your Paragraphs.

Laura Byrne-Paquet’s Fact Checking will close the seminar season on Friday, April 29. In this morning seminar, she will help participants develop this important editing skill that prevents mistakes, avoids loss of money, avoids lawsuits, and establishes client/author credibility.

Don’t delay. To register for one or more seminars from our exciting lineup, go to https://www.gifttool.com/registrar/ShowEventDetails?ID=29&EID=20352