Posts Tagged ‘American Copy Editors Society’

Teresa Schmedding transformed the American Copy Editors Society. Newspapers will miss her leadership, but ACES won’t, because ACES has adapted to the changing landscape better than newspapers have.

Teresa is leaving newspapers to become managing editor of Rotary International. Her move says something about journalism on two counts:

  1. Newspapers are losing too many valuable contributors.
  2. Editing skills remain valuable, even if newspapers no longer value them.

I first met Teresa about a decade ago, when I was leading a seminar for news editors and copy desk chiefs at the American Press Institute. Someone recommended her to me to lead one of my sessions, and she did an outstanding job. I can’t remember the exact topic, but I think it dealt with copy editors’ role in the changing digital environment. What I remember was that she was an excellent teacher and struck the exact right tone for an editing workshop: upholding standards but not fussing over trivial points. (more…)


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Glamann Award for Steve ButtryFriday evening was an incredible time for me.

After waiting most of the day to work out details of how I would receive intravenous antibiotics at home, I finally left the hospital about 7:15, ending an eight-day stay to treat an infection that arose because chemotherapy had damaged my immune system. It was great to get home.

As I started opening packages that arrived in my absence, Mimi said I needed to open my laptop. We were going to Skype with our granddaughters before they went to bed. Sounded like a nice welcome-home. I had no idea.

The Skype callers were not my granddaughters, but Teresa Schmedding, president of the American Copy Editors Society, and the 500 copy editors gathered for the ACES conference in Pittsburgh. Teresa and Mimi had conspired to Skype me into the conference, so ACES could give me the Glamann Award. Mimi had the plaque and Teresa said some kind words about my contributions to journalism. (more…)

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Well, it was fun changing the name of my blog (at the facetious suggestion of Gene Weingarten) and raising $725 for the ACES Education Fund. But it’s been a month, and that’s what I committed to, so I’ve reverted to The Buttry Diary.

I went back to an older header design by Tim Tamimi because Tim’s most recent header had my Digital First Media job title in the header, and I won’t have that title much longer.

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Update: If you read this when it was posted initially, or after I updated Tuesday night with lots of responses, I have added more responses, plus my own recommendation.

When I was visiting the St. Paul Pioneer Press newsroom recently, some copy editors asked a perplexing style question: If we are creating content first for digital platforms, and trying to make a print product efficiently from that content, how do we handle references to “today”?

“Tomorrow” can be problematic, too. Newspaper journalists have traditionally avoided “yesterday” and “tomorrow,” making them “Monday” and “Wednesday” if you’re publishing on Tuesday. So it’s probably still a good idea to avoid “yesterday.” But “Wednesday” should really become “today” when that digital story is published in the next morning’s newspaper.

Is there a good solution that doesn’t involve changing every “today” reference between digital and print? (more…)

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This is another Training Tracks blog post from the archive of No Train, No Gain, originally published Sept. 6, 2004:

I started out in training by playing to my strengths. I had spent most of my career as an assigning editor, a department head, top editor and reporter. So my early workshops taught reporting, writing and leadership skills.

A little over three years ago, Joe Hight, managing editor of the Daily Oklahoman, invited me to Oklahoma City to present some workshops for his staff. He ordered a few workshops from my menu, then asked for something for the copy desk.

Well, I have copy editing experience. In fact, I was a pretty good copy editor. But that was 17 years ago (when Joe was asking; 20 years ago now). And perhaps no job has faced more changes and pressures as technology and economics have changed newsrooms. I balked, but Joe can be pretty persuasive, so I agreed to present a workshop for copy editors. (more…)

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Journalism education needs an update. You can and must teach and honor the timeless fundamentals of journalism and still prepare journalists for the dynamic job market they will be entering.

Journalists and educators who play the “basics” card in resisting overhauls of journalism curriculum fail to acknowledge how basic to journalism resourcefulness and problem-solving are. When a county attorney who didn’t respect the law denied me access to a file in the local courthouse, I found the records I needed in the Iowa Supreme Court and got the story. When I couldn’t persuade intimidated friends of a victim to speak on the record for a story about domestic violence by a football player, I used a draft of the story using unnamed sources to prod reluctant coaches to confirm and clarify details on the record. When floods cut off streets in much of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, my staff covered the news in boats, chest waders and by finding alternate routes. Good journalists adjust to the situations they face and they don’t use obstacles as excuses.

We need to adjust to digital challenges and journalism educators need to stop using “basics” as an excuse. They need to develop ways to teach the basics along with principles and skills of innovation. (more…)

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