Editors– Finding the Words When You Can’t…Sometimes

A few of our guest speakers have explained the difficulties (and sometimes the benefits) of having an editor change their work. Lately, I’ve had some great experiences with editors– but I realize this probably isn’t a common occurrence.

I am currently doing a freelance journalism internship and had my first two publications last week. I found it interesting to examine what the editors decided to change and what they left untouched. Surprisingly, I completely agreed with their changes and felt they greatly improved my articles. The thought crossed my mind that since journalism is essentially reporting the facts, it’s easier to accept an editor’s changes than it would be for creative work, like poetry or fiction.

I originally wrote this as the first paragraph for a fitness article for Healthy Living magazine:

“If you haven’t discovered it yet, your smart phone is a gateway to a range of fun, free fitness apps to whip you into shape — especially on those days when you can’t seem to make it to the gym. From yoga and toning to cardiovascular and resistance workouts — it’s all there, just a click away in your App Store.”

The editor changed it to this:

“If you have a smartphone, you have a personal trainer in your pocket and may not even know it. Your local app “store” offers dozens of fun, free, fitness apps that can whip you into running shape, teach you yoga, tone your muscles and provide cardiovascular and resistance workouts– it’s all there, just a click away.”

While the gist is the same, I thought the editor’s version was more compelling and detailed, maybe due to the “you” language he added.

I’m glad to have had positive experiences with editors so far, but I know not to expect such a smooth road every time I write something.

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One Response to Editors– Finding the Words When You Can’t…Sometimes

  1. Yesterday I was responding to comments from an Oregon Encyclopedia editor for an article about pears. The editor was able to point me to a relevant article in the Oregon Historical Quarterly (from 1906!) that provided just the right missing fact to strengthen the opening of the article. It’s great to have smart editors.

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