Results tagged “editing” from ARTicles

On the misery-loves-company front, Michael Cunningham offers some solace to those who, in meeting their deadline and staying within their word count, have written something that falls short of the crystalline and indelible prose they'd meant to achieve. He's speaking of the novelist's experience, but it's not far removed from the journalist's:

A novel, any novel, if it's any good, is not only a slightly disappointing translation of the novelist's grandest intentions, it is also the most finished draft he could come up with before he collapsed from exhaustion. It's all I can do not to go from bookstore to bookstore with a pen, grabbing my books from the shelves, crossing out certain lines I've come to regret and inserting better ones. For many of us, there is not what you could call a "definitive text."

Cunningham's larger discussion of translation, meanwhile, put me in mind of editing, and how difficult and essential it is for the editor to both respect and -- where necessary -- channel the writer's intent.

His essay in today's New York Times Week in Review section is here.

October 3, 2010 2:49 PM |

A year ago, Julie Lasky left the world of glossy design magazines to edit a new, nonprofit, online publication called Change Observer. Dedicated to covering design as social innovation, it's funded by a Rockefeller Foundation grant and launched last July as one of three "channels" of Design Observer. The move marks a significant shift for Lasky, the former editor-in-chief of Interiors and, most recently, I.D., which folded late last year. A 1995-96 NAJP fellow, she spoke by phone about her new venture. This is an edited version of the interview.

julie's_portrait.jpg

In the popular perception, design is associated with luxury, not necessity, let alone politics and social innovation. But Change Observer is explicitly focused on "design strategies aimed globally at improving health, education, housing, and the environment" -- which seems very different from what you were doing at I.D. and Interiors. So is that part of the appeal to you as an editor?

Well, I think that one of the problems, as you say, is it is the public's perception that design is associated with luxury. But, you know, I never thought of design as just simply being an activity to produce consumer objects, and I think both Interiors and I.D. reflected that. So, for instance, we did an entire package of stories related to China, just before the Beijing Olympics, but those stories really went into how do you fashion a vocabulary for what design is bringing to China, and the new developments of design in business in China. Or there was a journal about an industrial designer, trying to navigate his way through the whole system of having things produced, with all the qualms about production in China. So, you know, I don't feel like I ever really stepped away from a mission. I just kind of got a little bit more focused.

March 17, 2010 12:00 AM |
Buried a bit in Larry Blumenfeld's post yesterday is a complaint that will be familiar to too many journalists: A piece he'd written for a newspaper appeared on its website under someone else's byline, and when he pointed out the error, he was met with a disturbingly cavalier, we'll-see-if-we-can-fix-that response.

In the Columbia Journalism Review, Victor Navasky's report on a CJR survey of magazines offers even more reason for writers and readers to keep that bottle of ibuprofen handy. Documenting with hard numbers the pervasiveness of sloppy editing practices online, it also plumbs some of the causes. A sample:

• 59 percent of those surveyed said that either there was no copy editing whatsoever online (11 percent), or that copy editing is less rigorous than in the print edition.
• 40 percent said that when Web editors, as opposed to print editors, are in charge of content decisions, fact-checking is less rigorous (17 percent said there was no fact-checking online when Web editors made the content decisions).

As Navasky writes, "And that's taking respondents at their word!"
March 2, 2010 9:39 AM |


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