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Editor Problems

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Sports_Writer, Sep 23, 2013.

  1. Sports_Writer

    Sports_Writer New Member

    The editor I am working with has on more than one occasion edited not just the grammar but a few words to change the overall dynamic of the article. Is it my place to say something? The edits make me look incorrect and I have no say in the matter.
  2. Buck

    Buck Well-Known Member

    I never had a problem if a reporter wanted to discuss changes I made to his/her copy.
    If I made a change that affected the accuracy of a story, that's a big mistake.
    If I made a change that affected the tone or voice, it should have been intentional and I should be able to explain why I made the change.
    In the latter case, reporters are often very defensive about their original copy, and they're often wrong; however, the discussion can be very productive. If you grasp the editor's perspective, it will help you editor-proof your stories in the future.

    If the editor is defensive about changes he/she made, he/she may not be a very good editor.
  3. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Well-Known Member

    As a writer who's been at this for a while, I agree with this. Tough editing early in my career has paid off time and again in the years since. Grateful for it, and to one SOB in particular.
  4. SnarkShark

    SnarkShark Well-Known Member

    This has happened to me before. I once had an editor rewrite my copy every time he touched one of my stories. I asked him about it and he got tremendously defensive.

    I think it's important a writer has a voice and I will fight for that. His response was, "I know better," which is garbage. On one story, he edited in an egregious mistake and I completely lost my mind. His mistake made me look like an idiot, because my name was on the story.

    Eventually, he began passing off my copy or largely didn't touch it.

    My advice would be to say stand up for yourself, but make damn sure it's worth it. If you have an editor that is adding mistakes to your piece, you better speak up, because you're the one that's going to look like a jackass, not the editor.
  5. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

  6. 3_Octave_Fart

    3_Octave_Fart Well-Known Member

    The editor should have you make the fixes, if there's any rewriting involved.
  7. SnarkShark

    SnarkShark Well-Known Member

    I did it intentionally to make the editor seem unhuman.
  8. joe_schmoe

    joe_schmoe Active Member

    Agree with this.

    I'm not saying editors don't edit mistakes into stories, it's probably happened to all of us. But more times than not the editor knows what he/she is doing. Id you think you have glowing grammar and copy and it gets changed, there is probably a reason. It may sound right in your head, but would the reader understand it? Is it cliche? Or is it just not AP style, though it may be proper English style.

    Ask your editor why it was changed. If the story is filed long before deadline, try to look at the edited version before it gets on a page.
    If you are young and still new to the biz, you'd be better served trying to find out why the changes were made rather than get upset that they were.

    Maybe it is the editor, maybe it is you.
    Post a story to the Writers' Workshop section of this site, and let some of the seasoned editors look at it and see. Just a suggestion.
  9. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    And if an editor has edited in a mistake, and you point it out to them, and he/she apologizes for it, be graceful and be ready and willing to forgive and forget it.

    Unless it's something that's going to get you sued, or something, let it go and move on.
  10. JRoyal

    JRoyal Well-Known Member

    It's a horrible thing for an editor to edit a mistake into a story. But remember, for every error a good editor inserts, he or she has probably fixed 50 mistakes you made. That doesn't excuse inserting errors, but I hate writers who go off about the errors that get into their copy without ever acknowledging the times that an editor saved their ass.

    Question, though: How do the edits make you look incorrect? Are they inserting facts or changing the tone somehow? If they're changing tone, could you give us an example?
  11. Sports_Writer

    Sports_Writer New Member

    I'm trying to keep things somewhat generic because you never know who reads these things.

    Long story short, I made reference to a QB who threw an interception and the editor re-worded it to make it seem as though the QB had a much worse game than they actually had. A minor change but it wasn't true and contradicted the rest of the article.
  12. JRoyal

    JRoyal Well-Known Member

    I'd ask why he made the change. Might be a learning opportunity. If nothing else, gives you a chance to discuss why you didn't like the edit. But remember -- no one is as good of a writer as they think they are. Keep an open mind when you discuss it. If the editor knows what he's doing, there's a reason he made the change. You might learn something. And if the editor doesn't have a clue, you'll find that out, too.
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