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.

 

 

Go ahead—ask what your branch can do for you by Tom Vradenburg, Editors Ottawa–Gatineau Past Chair

We’ve made a few changes this year as a result of town hall discussions: an earlier start time, a different venue. It’s time again to check in with our editing community to see how we can help one another.

We’d like to hear your suggestions on what you would like to see from Ottawa–Gatineau speaker nights or seminars, or if you would like entirely new kind of programming. Aside from an (optional) glass of wine, you’ll get bonus marks if you are willing to volunteer some time for it.

Our upcoming speaker night on March 16 is about you speaking and us listening. If it will help the free flow of ideas, there will be wine and cheese. Come and talk to us!

Last year’s meeting yielded some useful changes that we’ve implemented: a different meeting venue, an earlier start time to our meetings, some opportunities to socialize.

Wednesday, March 16, 6:30 p.m.

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

Parking: Just behind the building, off Empress Avenue

Free for EAC members, $10 for non-members

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.

START THE YEAR WITH ADVICE FROM THE SAGES – PART 3 BY TOM VRADENBURG

Speed mentoring is officially full. The January speaker night for Editors Ottawa–Gatineau has been fully subscribed in advance.

If you have not received a message from Speaker Nights Chair Tom Vradenburg with a schedule enclosed, you cannot be assured an opportunity to seek mentoring from the Sages.

Given the surprising enthusiasm for this event, Editors Ottawa–Gatineau will consider holding another fairly soon. Thanks for your interest and support!

When: Wednesday, January 20, 6:30 pm

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.

START THE YEAR WITH ADVICE FROM THE SAGES – PART 2 by TOM VRADENBURG

Would you like to get expert advice and fresh perspectives on your editing business or career ? Whether you’re just starting out, changing the focus of your career or wanting to discuss specific editing challenges with a peer who’s been there, we have a roster of sages to provide speed mentoring on January 20th.

The Sages and their specialties are

Laura Byrne Paquet: Freelancing, copy editing, proofreading, government work, journalism, travel writing, genre fiction writing and editing, social history writing, blogging, teaching

Moira White: Teaching editing and writing, building a diversified business, substantive editing, copy editing, plain language editing and writing, government reports

Patricia Buchanan: Freelancing; copy editing and proofreading; some substantive editing; government reports; reports by independent think-tanks and by academics (mainly in economics); indexing textbooks, scholarly, and trade books

Laurel Hyatt: Freelancing, substantive editing, copy editing, proofreading, government reports, university textbooks, journalism, business auditing, accounting

Louise Saint-André: finding work, freelancing, French editing (concordance EN>FR, copyediting, and proofreading), public speaking, teaching and professional development, health

Elizabeth Macfie: Copy editing, stylistic editing, proofreading, comparative reading of translations, training (groups and one-on-one coaching), style guide development, business networking, indexing, conference session delivery

Do sign up by emailing Tom Vradenburg, our Speaker Nights Chair, at tomv@bell.net by Tuesday, January 19. You can choose upto three Sages, and each session will last 15 minutes.

When: Wednesday, January 20, 6:30 pm

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.

 

 

Start the year with advice from the Sages by Tom Vradenburg

January’s meeting of Editors Ottawa–Gatineau will be an evening of speed mentoring. Sign up now for 15-minute one-on-ones with three or four of our branch’s most accomplished members.

These short-sharp consultations are a terrific opportunity to get expert advice and fresh perspectives on your editing business or career, whether you’re just starting out, changing the focus of your career or wanting to discuss specific editing challenges with a peer who’s been there.

A list of participating mentors will be up shortly; please check again!

When: Wednesday, January 20, 6:30 pm

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.

Staying organized, swapping books by Tom Vradenburg

 Some are born organized; the rest of us have to adopt or invent tools and tricks to get there and stay there.

If whole stores can be devoted to this vital art, so too can a speaker night.

Program chair Tom Vradenburg will lead this month’s program, but the floor will also be open to others wishing to show and tell how they keep entropy at bay.

Tom will show’n’tell file-naming conventions that have saved time and sanity for two teams he has managed: a book project and an all-purpose communications shop.

This month, he’s working on a major reorganization of a thousand-page intranet site, and has chosen as his go-to tool…Microsoft Excel.

Everyone is invited to bring along or explain their favourite tools and tricks. Anyone for OneNote?

If you come out on Wednesday, do bring a reference book or two you can live without that someone else might find helpful, and swap it for something new-to-you.

When: Wednesday, October 21, 6:30 pm

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

Free for members, $10 for non-members

Parking: Construction crews are continuing to work on water mains at the corner of Albert Street and Empress Avenue, and will be starting to work directly on Empress Avenue in coming weeks, forcing the closure of that street. However, the parking lot, just off Empress and behind the Centre, will still be accessible.

Time for a name change by Tom Vradenburg, EAC NCR Past Chair

In case you missed our last meeting of the season, the branch is considering a name change.

What first motivated us that our web pages advertising our seminars do not get picked up by Internet search engines. In the process of analyzing our competition in the seminar market, we discovered that having “National Capital Region” as our branch name makes for poor ‘search engine optimization’. We tried multiple search terms: in many cases, the EAC national website scored higher on search lists.

We are struggling with growing seminar competition from training companies. Not being found in online searches is a liability we should be able to address.

The new national branding creates a timely window of opportunity for a name change for this branch. This normally would not be a high-priority item, but we would like to catch the rebranding train too.

Changing our national organization’s branding—its everyday self-identification, as opposed to the name in its constitution or incorporation papers—is also partly motivated by search considerations. We have long had “editors.ca” as a domain name for the national website and for EAC’s webmail service. So, the move to Editors Canada national branding—with the new logo, typeface and colours—is being done, in part, for similar reasons.

Our other reason, less pressing, is that “NCR” is an abbreviation that is understood only, and not universally, ‘inside the Queensway’. Our members do not live in a true federal district, like the District of Columbia, but mainly in two cities, Ottawa and Gatineau. Some Eastern Ontario members, closer to Kingston, rightfully gravitate to the Kingston twig.

This post is the start of a short process to discuss whether we need to change, and what exactly the new name should be. After the two-week window, a vote will be held on the candidates proposed.

I encourage you to comment here on the blog, where others can see and debate your opinions: click Leave a comment at the bottom of this post, and enter your comment in the text box. You may also email comments to tomv@bell.net.

I would like to wind up the discussion by midnight, Friday, June 12. Thanks for your continued support of EAC in Ottawa.

May’s meeting: serious stuff—elections and a name change— then fun stuff By Tom Vradenburg, EAC–NCR Chair

Naming or re-naming organizations, companies and products is always a fraught process. The name has to be spellable and pronounceable: it should sound positive, and even describe the activities of the organization. Today, the advent of search engines, and the need to be ‘found’ by them, adds another variable to consider.

Changing our national organization’s branding—its everyday self-identification, as opposed to the name in its constitution or incorporation papers—is partly motivated by search considerations. We have long had “editors.ca” as a domain name for the national website and for EAC’s webmail service. So, the move to Editors Canada branding—with the new logo, typeface and colours—can be seen as part of the same trend.

The new national branding has also encouraged NCR’s executive to propose a name change for this branch. This normally would not be a high-priority item, but we would like to catch that rebranding train too.

What motivated us to head to the station was ‘search engine optimization’. In the process of analyzing our competition in the seminar market, we discovered that having “National Capital Region” as our branch name has been impeding recognition of our seminar pages by Google and other search engines. Depending on the search terms tried, the EAC national website scores higher on searches, even when “Ottawa” is included in the terms.

We are struggling with growing seminar competition from training companies. Not being found in online searches is a liability we should be able to address.

Our other reason, less pressing, for a name change is that “NCR” is an abbreviation that is understood only, and not universally, ‘inside the Beltway’. Our members do not live in a true federal district, like the District of Columbia, but mainly in two cities, Ottawa and Gatineau. Some Eastern Ontario members, closer to Kingston, rightfully gravitate to the Kingston twig.

I hope this explains why the branch executive would like to do this, and why it is suddenly urgent.

Seeking new executive members

Election of executive members for 2015–2016 is also on the slate for May’s meeting. Several positions are in play at this point:

  • membership chair
  • seminar co-chair
  • marketing chair
  • speaker nights co-chair
  • vice-chair.

Please consider volunteering for one of these: to learn more about what each position involves, and which is the best fit for you, written job descriptions are available for each position: feel free to email me. I can attest that the executive is a collegial, supportive and efficient  group.

Then, the fun stuff

The lighter, latter portion of May’s meeting involves games, similar to the format of previous May ‘game nights’. Expect a combination of group activity and individual trivia and logic questions. The competition may be keen, but these games will be much more civil than the hockey playoffs. Details to follow!

When: Wednesday, May 20, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Capital Hill Hotel & Suites, 88 Albert Street, Laurier Room
Free for members, $10 for non-members
Pre-registration is not required for this event.

The Canada.ca Web Content Style Guide: An unofficial preview by Tom Vradenburg Chair, EAC NCR

It has been nearly 20 years since Public Works published The Canadian Style. At January’s meeting, I summarized this new ‘content style guide’ published by Treasury Board on GCConnex.ca.

Where the guide fits

While not exactly a replacement for The Canadian Style, the guide says, “in situations where this document disagrees with Canadian Style, follow this document” (quotes mine). And so much about publishing has changed in 20 years, so an update is nice. What I really appreciate is how this document consolidates things that editors should know from several other Public Works documents about publishing, such as the standards on web interoperability.

The greater emphasis on plain language is good to see: Canadian Style does mention it, over a few pages at the back of the book. Here, the message is stressed throughout.

This new guide presents itself as the rulebook only for publishing on the canada.ca site, which will carry content from many departments. But if you work in any government department, this new web content style guide, with the weight of Treasury Board behind it, may be good style guidance you can take to the boss.

My presentation, in PowerPoint format, is posted.

05_E_CanadaWebGuide (1)