ACES Evolve 2023

Editing for and in the Government | Kim Cragg, Melissa Cichantek

Editing government writing has unique perils: abbreviation alphabet soup, a resistance to plain language, redundant review processes, overly formal narratives, and information data-dumps abound. Join the panelists as they use their almost 30 years of combined editing experience, both in and out of the government sector, to break down the differences between editing for the government and editing for news, books, or other publications. They will dive into common issues in government editing, fighting red-tape burnout, approaching and reducing jargon, working with in-house and external government clients, and more.

Introductory, Students, Freelance editors, News editors, Corporate editors, Technical, Government editors, Core Skills


Kim Cragg started copyediting in elementary school, when she picked up a family member’s novel and marked it through for errors. Since then, Kim studied public relations and became a communications specialist for the federal government. She wrote and edited IT policy for the Department of Transportation, then became an editor for VA audit reports. Kim focuses on in-house editing as customer service and believes that teaching good writing fundamentals is the best way to help writers grow and be confident.

Melissa is a jack-of-all-trades editor who has been working in government consulting for about 15 years. She has a special love for MS Word formatting and plain language, and is recently starting to learn graphic design. Melissa does less copyediting these days and more coaching and guiding authors in clear communication. She currently works for Summit, a data analytics consulting firm in Washington, DC, with a small team of editors who focus on federal government reports and proposals.

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