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Nerds of the world, unite

Of the two constituencies who are drawn to this blog — readers of The Sun in Maryland and farther-flung copy editors and others with a professional interest in the written word — the latter group ought to be made aware of the American Copy Editors Society. (The former group might have some anthropological curiosity.)

ACES, the first national organization for professional copy editors, is a little more than 10 years old. It drew 300 people to its first national conference, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in September 1997. Its subsequent national conferences have provided the most concentrated and capable instruction in editing and the allied arts to be found in this country.

It has also set up an educational foundation devoted to assisting students who are pursuing a career in editing — and there are, too, such people.

Its Web site has a wealth of free reference material and other information. Membership, you will discover there, is laughably cheap. Have a look.

I mention this because the very concept of editing as copy editors have traditionally practiced it is threatened at many of the nation’s newspapers. Editing takes time, and it is labor-intensive. It is therefore not cheap, and some managers, lacking an understanding of what is required to produce a reputable publication, have formed the idea that shortcuts in copy editing, or its virtual elimination, will improve their situation.

One thing you can do to resist this pernicious trend is to join ACES, uphold its work, contribute to its educational foundation, attend its conferences, give a face and voice to the otherwise anonymous role of the copy editor.

If you are already a member (bless your heart), re-up. If you are an editor and not a member, sign up.

Posted by John McIntyre at 1:42 PM | | Comments (1)


Has the Society a gift shop?

JEM: Yes, there's merchandise:

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About John McIntyre
John McIntyre, mild-mannered editor for a great metropolitan newspaper, has fussed over writers’ work, to sporadic expressions of gratitude, for thirty years. He is The Sun’s night content production manager and former head of its copy desk. He also teaches editing at Loyola University Maryland. A former president of the American Copy Editors Society, a native of Kentucky, a graduate of Michigan State and Syracuse, and a moderate prescriptivist, he writes about language, journalism, and arbitrarily chosen topics. If you are inspired by a spirit of contradiction, comment on the posts or write to him at
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