Sessions Planned for ACES 2017 Conference

Sessions Planned for ACES 2017 Conference

December 7, 2016 By ACES Staff Conferences

Below is a list of sessions planned for ACES 2017 national conference in St. Petersburg, Fla. Sessions are subject to change, and the list will be updated as sessions are added to the program.

This list was updated on Feb. 22, 2017 and is subject to change.

Thursday, March 23

9:45 – 11:15 a.m.

Quick Fixes You May Have Forgotten About

Merrill Perlman, president, Merrill Perlman Consulting

No matter what you edit or on what platform, some writing problems are universal. (Ending a sentence or session title with a preposition is NOT one of them.) This session can be a refresher on what some of those problems are, or an introduction to them. We’ll go over what stops readers and how to keep them moving forward. Come prepared to play. There will be chocolate!

Beyond Editing: First and Last Steps When Working With Self-Publishers

Katherine Pickett, owner and editor, POP Editorial Services LLC; Jodi Brandon, owner, Jodi Brandon Editorial

In the era of self-publishing, the opportunities for editors are plentiful, but you need to go beyond editing if you want to capitalize on them. This session explores some of the “soft skills” that are key to working successfully with self-publishers, scaling your business, and staying competitive. On the front end, this involves formalizing your business practices to create strong client relationships and a profitable business. On the back end, it involves supporting and educating clients on transforming their manuscripts into books or e-books and launch them into the world.

Freelancing 101: Launching Your Editing Business

Ruth Thaler-Carter, freelance writer and editor, “I can write about anything!”

Many of us dream of going freelance for the prospect of the freedom to work in the ways that are most comfortable — and profitable — for us. This session will provide tips on how to jump-start your dream of living the freelance lifestyle: setting up and organizing, finding work, networking, using resources, getting paid, combating isolation, and more. Energize your freelance efforts with practical, upbeat insights into the joys and challenges of freelancing. Even seasoned freelancers will garner new insights and useful suggestions.

Is This Racist? How Editors Can Identify Hidden Bias in Language

Karen Yin, founder, AP vs. Chicago and Conscious Style Guide; Steve Bien-Aimé, Ph.D., assistant professor, Louisiana State University; Henry Fuhrmann, editor and instructor, Los Angeles Times (retired); Rick Kenney, Ph.D., Department of Communication chair, Augusta University

Catching racist and discriminatory language requires more than an awareness of slurs and pejorative terminology. Racism on paper can take many subtle forms, including the lack of fair and equal media representation, prejudicial narratives, racializing words through juxtaposition, and the unintentional othering of people of color.

Leadership in the Workplace

Rebecca Dyer, copy editor, The Arizona Republic; Teresa Schmedding, managing editor, Rotary International; David Yontz, managing editor, Creators

Three seasoned managers share leadership skills and techniques that will help you maximize the performance of your team of editors. Get tools for managing your boss and learn how employee-manager relations can foster mutual respect, with both sides acting as leaders in the workplace. Learn how to lead from the heart, earn respect, effectively teach skills, and make your department the best it can be.


11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Catch as Catch Can

John Russial, associate professor, University of Oregon

Some embarrassing problems in copy are hard to catch, and many of these involve numbers. At first glance, they don’t appear to be mistakes, and even if they raise a flag, it’s often difficult to look them up. But many of these errors are easier to identify if you look inward, focusing on the story itself for clues, and use your common sense. In effect, it’s making do with what’s available. This interactive session will provide examples of these mistakes, focusing primarily on numeracy issues, as well as suggest ideas for catching them.

What’s New at the Chicago Manual of Style

Carol Fisher Saller, Q&A editor, The Chicago Manual of Style Online

Over 111 years and 16 editions, The Chicago Manual of Style has continued to change in many ways, large and small. But unlike manuals that update every year or even continuously, CMOS makes no changes in style during the seven to ten years between editions. This forum looks at the role of style manuals, the advantages and drawbacks of a manual that doesn’t respond quickly to changes in language, and what the future holds for CMOS.

Latest Research on Editing

Alyssa Appelman, assistant professor, Northern Kentucky University; Steve Bien-Aimé, Ph.D., assistant professor, Louisiana State University; Rick Kenney, Ph.D., Department of Communication, chair, Augusta University; Susan Keith, professor and department chair, Rutgers University

Four editors-turned-professors discuss their latest research projects and classroom techniques. Appelman will discuss her experiment on acronyms and abbreviations in headlines. Bien-Aimé will talk about how scholars who were formerly practitioners can serve as liaisons between the industry and the academy. Kenney will demonstrate how he infuses Karen Yin’s Conscious Style Guide in his basic editing class. Keith will talk about her survey work on what editing teachers are teaching in the classroom.

Freelance Editing: The Top Ten Things I Wish I’d Known

Elizabeth d’Anjou, freelance editor; member, Editors Canada national executive council

A veteran freelancer shares the biggest lessons she has learned—many of them the hard way—about freelance editing. Learn from Elizabeth’s mistakes as she shares the insights, epiphanies, and attitude adjustments that helped her grow from a struggling wannabe to a successful and contented expert with a large stable of loyal clients. Lighthearted in tone but packed with genuinely useful information, the session will end with a request for attendees to share lessons they have learned as freelancers.

Using Social Media to Earn Trust

Joy Mayer, community engagement strategist

There are concrete steps media professionals can take to tell the story of their own credibility. Fourteen newsrooms helped test strategies for building trust, and clear themes emerged. We can’t just share content and hope people find it valuable. We’ve got to compel users to connect with us, believe us, and share our work.


2:15 – 3:15 p.m.

Copy Editing and Corpus Linguistics

Jonathon Owen, editing and layout administrator, Brigham Young University

Language is always changing, and print dictionaries and style guides sometimes have a hard time keeping up. Should “data” be singular or plural? Is “comprised of” OK? Can we finally ditch the hyphen in “e-mail”? Thanks to publicly available corpora such as Google Books Ngrams and the Corpus of Contemporary American English, editors can see what’s really going on in print. This session will explain what a corpus is, what kinds of usage questions can be researched with one, and why editors should care.

The Future of Headlines? You’ll Never Believe How People Reacted to Clickbait

Joshua Scacco, assistant professor, Purdue University

Amid an almost limitless amount of news options, more news organizations are turning to “clickbait” headlines in an attempt to entice and engage audiences. But how do audiences really feel about these headlines? In this session, a researcher from the Engaging News Project will share findings from testing whether headlines written using varying levels of uncertainty prompt different reactions.

Professional Etiquette: Navigate Networking Without Making Enemies

Barbie Halaby, owner, Monocle Editing; Heather E. Saunders, owner, Just the Write Type Editing; Sarah Grey, owner, Grey Editing LLC; Christina M. Frey, owner, Page Two Editing

Copy editors who are new to the industry or to freelancing may struggle with networking. Much takes place online, where traditional interpersonal skills aren’t always appropriate. Others work in isolation and have little experience with face-to-face forms of networking, which can make connecting at conferences and meetings extremely uncomfortable. New editors must learn to negotiate this vast and often terrifying world while desperate for any sort of guidance; longtime editors might find their generosity abused by those looking for the secrets to success. This session addresses multiple sides of the networking minefield and will prove extremely valuable to conference attendees.

Words Matter: Covering Disabilities

Jennifer LaFleur, senior editor for data journalism, The Center for Investigative Reporting

Disability is increasingly in the news, but journalists often are not comfortable covering disability, in part because of unfamiliarity with the language and issues. And no wonder: The language is constantly changing, national disability organizations often disagree on the appropriate terms to use, and the AP Stylebook is silent on many questions. The National Center on Disability and Journalism at Arizona State University has developed a comprehensive style guide to help journalists navigate these choices, with the goal of being both accurate and clear. This session will introduce the guide and open up a discussion about a range of language options and coverage possibilities.

What’s Taught in Editing Courses? And What Should Be

Andy Bechtel, associate professor, UNC-Chapel Hill; Sue Burzynski Bullard, associate professor, University of Nebraska; Beverley Rilett, research assistant professor, University of Nebraska; Vicki Krueger, marketing communications manager at the Poynter Institute

We’ve packed up our pica poles and picked up social media, but it’s not easy to keep up with the changes in our field. In this panel discussion, educators will talk about what they teach in editing courses and how that’s changed. The discussion will include editing for news organizations and book publishers. If you’re an editor, join this session to tell educators what they should be teaching. If you’re an educator, get some practical tips for making your courses current.


3:30 – 4:30 p.m.

“Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries” reading

Kory Stamper, associate editor, Merriam-Webster

Listen, laugh, and learn as lexicographer Kory Stamper reads from her new book, “Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries.” Books will be available for sale and signing after.

Getting Down to Business: Copy Editing for Corporate and Financial News

Maggie Swensen, copy manager, S&P Global Marketing Intelligence; Stephanie Halchin, copy editor, S&P Global Marketing Intelligence; Jill Stephens, assistant manager, copy desk, S&P Global Marketing Intelligence

In the wake of recessions, bailouts and company scandals, the growing field of business journalism is more important than ever. But how do subscription-based financial outlets compare with more traditional, general-purpose news teams? And what can the demands of this niche audience teach us about accuracy and accountability in journalism? This session discusses the challenges and opportunities of copy editing in financial news for larger corporations and offers tips for breaking into this emerging job market.

Libel: Why Attribution Matters

Bill Hickman, professor, University of Central Oklahoma; Charles DeLaFuente, freelance editor and attorney

Copy editors need to know about libel and how it affects editing. A story may contain controversial assertions as statements of fact, intentionally or otherwise, that are not attributed to anyone. Copy editors must be aware of unattributed assertions as potential sources of libel, in news and in all client copy. We’ll explain libel and show how a lack of attribution in copy can amount to libel. We’ll also talk about the unsettled laws of invasion of privacy, particularly after the verdict in favor of Hulk Hogan in Florida last year.

Mastermind Group: A Copy Editor’s Key to Career Growth

Erin Brenner, co-owner and publisher, Copyediting; Wendy Barron, owner, Wendy Barron Editorial Services; Amy J. Schneider, owner, Featherschneider Editorial Services; Judi Heidel, owner, Perfectly Clear Editing Services

Employee and freelance copy editors alike need career development on a regular basis, yet business courses geared toward editors are few and far between. Enter the mastermind group. In this follow-up to last year’s popular mastermind sessions, panelists from different mastermind groups will share lessons from their groups and teach you how to create your own group. Whether you run an editing business or want to advance your editing career with your employer, your mastermind group can lead you to success!

A Progressive Prescription: Epicene Pronouns and Style

Sandra Schaefer, adjunct English instructor, Parkland College, Champaign, IL, and freelance academic editor

Named “Word of the Year” in 2015 by the American Dialect Society, the singular “they” is gaining ground as a movement within language. This session reviews the history of the epicene pronoun in American style manuals, focusing on the Associated Press Stylebook and the Chicago Manual of Style, and how this history has conflicted with both spoken and written usage. As we prepare to accept the singular “they” in all forms of writing, copy editors need to understand the ground upon which they stand and the road forward.


Friday, March 24

8:30 – 9:15 (general session)

The Online Misinformation Ecosystem

Craig Silverman, media editor of BuzzFeed News

An overview of the emerging online misinformation ecosystem — a guide to the players, platforms, and behaviors that are changing the way information is created and spread. Fake news is now a topic of international discussion and action, but it’s just one type of online misinformation.

9:30 – 10:30 a.m.

Our Changing Language: When Does Wrong Become Right?

James Harbeck, senior editor,

English changes all the time, and always has. Why? Because humans. Irregardless, there are some usages that literally drive us crazy. But there are also some changes that we will have to learn to accept and others we probably eagerly welcome. Our job as editors is to be bouncers at the door of our texts. James Harbeck will talk about how to know which ones to let in and which ones to keep out — at least for now.

Faking Extroversion as an Introvert

Laura Lattimer, senior editor, Reingold; Rachel Godward, senior editor, Reingold; Samantha Enslen, president, Dragonfly Editorial

Many of us became editors because we prefer to communicate in writing. Yet our success may depend on an extrovert’s communication tools: the ability to form trusting relationships with writers, convey a strong point of view in meetings, and explain edits and criticism in ways that reduce resistance. This session builds the skills you need to get out from behind your desk and face your supervisors, peers, and clients, increasing your impact and enhancing your status.

How to Produce Perfect-as-Possible Corporate Collateral

Samantha Enslen, president, Dragonfly Editorial

A workflow for creating white papers, fact sheets, and reports without terror or typos.

Freelancing 201: Beyond the Startup

Laura Poole, co-owner and director of training, Copyediting

You’ve been freelancing for a couple of years and have moderately steady work and a decent client base. Perhaps you’re ready for the next challenge — but what is that next challenge? How do you get more clients, raise your rates, make a shift in your clients and projects, do more of the work you want to do? How can you make more money in the same (or less) time? How can your business grow if it’s just you? This session will talk about business practices that put more money in your pocket and will brainstorm ways to expand your freelance empire.

Don’t Get Fooled: How to Spot Bad Information and Fake News

Gerri Berendzen, editorial advisor, The University Daily Kansan

Accuracy is our goal. That means knowing how to vet information. But even with new fact-checking tools, editors still need a dose of skepticism. And when you don’t have time to question everything, how do you know what to question? This session will focus on recognizing the red flags in copy that require a closer look and how to train yourself to be skeptical about information. It will also look at some of the best ways to address those red flags in an environment where time is at a premium.

Women in Management

Sara Ziegler, editor at Law360, Kat Jercich, managing editor, Rewire, Maisha Maurant, manager, communications and creative services team and chief corporate editor at Health Alliance Plan Michigan, Courtney Rukan, deputy multiplatform editing chief, The Washington Post

During this forum for women in leadership positions or on the management track, panelists and attendees will discuss ideas, strategies and how to avoid common pitfalls. The panel will be moderated by Sara Ziegler, editor at Law360 and ACES treasurer.


11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Beyond the Basics: Creative Ways to Find and Retain Great Freelance Clients

Molly McCowan, owner, Inkbot Editing; Jake Poinier, owner, Boomvang Creative Group; Christina M. Frey, co-executive, Editorial Freelancers Association

Stuck in a marketing rut? As an experienced editorial business owner, you’ve probably heard the same advice over and over again. This session will suggest ways to think outside the box with your marketing and will help you reframe your approach to finding new clients, developing a referral system, and using sample edits. You’ll walk away feeling reinvigorated and motivated to grow your freelance editing business.

The Editor as Writer: Essential Tools and Strategies (With Music!)

Roy Peter Clark, senior scholar, the Poynter Institute

The session will help editors:

What Can News Editors Let Go?

Neil Holdway, assistant managing editor/copy desk, Daily Herald

As news copy desks shrink, what are we comfortable with — in matters of grammar, style or even ethics — letting go? Are we done worrying about “over” vs. “more than”? Repeating words in headlines or even consecutive paragraphs? Use of the word “mull”? Passive voice? How much should we edit captions? Join this open discussion on where you let your standards lie when you’re increasingly in a rush.

Copy Editing Fiction for Traditional Publishers

Amy J. Schneider, owner, Featherschneider Editorial Services

This session will cover one experienced editor’s approach to copy editing fiction for mainstream publishers. Topics include handling files; technical considerations; balancing house style and author’s voice; appropriate level of editing; leeway in applying “correctness”; using style sheets to maintain plot consistency for characters, locations, and timeline; editing series; handling dialogue; genre considerations; balancing real and fictional elements; and diplomacy in editing and querying.

Truthful Copy in a Post-Trust Age

Alexios Mantzarlis, director of the International Fact Checking Network at the Poynter Institute; Brooke Borel, author of the Chicago Guide to Fact Checking; Joshua Gillin, reporter with PolitiFact; Craig Silverman, media editor, BuzzFeed

What can copy-editors do in an increasingly fact-challenged environment? Panelists will discuss how accurate and transparent copy can build readers’ trust in reporting. The panel will discuss fact-checking best practices, the pitfalls of seeking clarity over accuracy and corrections policies for the social media age.


2 – 3 p.m.

Ask the AP Stylebook

Colleen Newvine, product manager, AP Stylebook; Paula Froke, lead editor, AP Stylebook

The Associated Press Stylebook editors have had an annual session at the ACES conference since 2010, when we met in Philadelphia. This year’s panel features Paula Froke, the new lead editor of an expanded Stylebook editing team. Following ACES tradition, she will give us a first look at changes coming in the 2017 AP Stylebook and take your questions on how and why the AP offers the guidance it does. At past ACES conferences, Stylebook editors have announced taking the hyphen out of “e-mail,” changing “Web site” to “website,” and lowercasing “internet.” What changes do you expect to hear this year?

The Right of Self-Determination: Creating Inclusive Spaces for Transgender Folks in Journalism

Tammy Matthews, Ph.D. student, University of Colorado Boulder; former editor, Chicago Sun-Times and other publications

Language has the power to organize knowledge, and inclusive discourse promotes self-determination. Journalists should present accurate representations, consider ethical justification and minimize harm. They also should strive to understand the unique transgender experience and prevent defamatory rhetoric. This session encourages reflexive journalists to consider how to interview, discuss, and write about the transgender population through a research-based framework that addresses the power of language. The presenter endorses the practices outlined in the 10th edition of the GLAAD Media Reference Guide. This resource promotes autonomy when describing individual realities and supports professionals learning about the multidimensional lives of the queer community.

Bookmaking for Beginners: Getting Your Self-Publishing Client to a Finished Product

Dick Margulis, proprietor, Dick Margulis Creative Services

The session is a comprehensive and detailed summary of the steps and skills entailed in producing a book that meets commercial standards. Armed with this knowledge, you can guide your client toward intelligent decisions about who should do what. Self-publishing should not be do-it-yourself publishing, and you can partner with others to produce the book so the (self-)publisher can focus on marketing, sales, and distribution — their proper role.

Copy Editing Medical Content: Do No Harm

Jeni Crockett-Holme, editorial project manager, journals, Amnet Systems

Medical content presents unique challenges for copy editors. The authors are often medical practitioners, the content is highly technical, and new research keeps the editorial resources in flux. This session will introduce copy editors to specific types of medical content, the editorial process, common style issues, and scientific resources to support accurate editing and readability. Participants will gain a sense of how to approach copy editing tasks for medical content and how to build their skills in this area.

Get in Front of the Line: Editing for Agencies

Berna Ozunal, editor, Armstrong Partnership

Working as an editor in advertising and marketing can be fulfilling, professionally and financially, as opportunities and fair remuneration in traditional publishing industries become harder to come by. This session will look at particular agency models and how they operate, the work each produces (e.g., out of home) and its different purposes (e.g., B2B), the trends in the industry, and how editors fit into the equation (this is one industry where editors are indispensable). It will also provide an overview of the responsibilities of agency editors and examples of typical scenarios they encounter. Last, it will provide tips on how to find agency work.


3:15 – 4:45 p.m.

Averting Burnout Constructively and Decisively

Rebecca Dyer, copy editor, The Arizona Republic; Richard Dyer, editor, Independent Newsmedia Inc. USA

We love our jobs, but stresses seemingly outside our control — uncommunicative bosses, an era of doing more with less, personal-life issues — threaten our best efforts, sometimes even our sanity, and can lead to burnout. But are these stresses really outside our control? Maybe it’s how we react to them. Drawing from a combined 50-plus years in the workplace, Richard and Rebecca share their ideas and generate discussion on finding practical ways to deal with these stresses and help avoid burnout.

Assessment Editing

Evelyn Mellone, senior editor, Defense Language Institute; David Pisano, editor, Defense Language Institute

Assessment editing is a professional specialty in editing that involves editing all materials used in any kind of testing environment. This interactive workshop will look at multiple-choice test questions from all directions: editing from the top down (straightforward); editing from the bottom up (avoid test-taking tricks); editing from the inside out (pull it apart, analyze); and editing from the outside in (veneer). All these approaches and more will be practiced in this dynamic and practical workshop. At the end, participants will understand the basics of assessment editing and how to identify common item faults in multiple-choice testing.

Editing Across Borders: Translation, Localization, and the Global Readership

Sarah Grey, owner, Grey Editing LLC; Katya Jenson, web editor, Al-Monitor; Marie-Christine Payette, freelance editor and translator; Emmy Favilla, global copy chief, BuzzFeed; Katharine O’Moore-Klopf, owner, KOK Edit.

Editors of all kinds, freelance and in-house, work with increasingly multinational, multicultural, and multilingual audiences. This panel considers the special challenges and skills of editing for a globalized readership, with discussions of editing translated text and text intended for translation; localization and cultural sensitivity; bilingual texts and editing environments; and the practical and interpersonal sides of working with international clients.

10 Mistakes Sportswriters Make and How to Fix Them

Susan Keith, chair, Department of Journalism and Media Studies, Rutgers University; John Oudens, deputy desk head, sports, the New York Times; Rick Kenney, Ph.D., Department of Communication, chair, Augusta University

This session, which received a favorable response at the conference in Pittsburgh, examines 10 types of editing errors sportswriters make and how editors can catch and correct them. The session makes the point that editing sports isn’t all fun and games. With two presenters who grew up devoted to sports and one who came to sports editing accidentally, the panel offers encouragement for both veteran and newer sports editors, as well as editors forced to edit articles in a field they aren’t (yet) familiar with.

“French toast” vs. “french fries”: The Wild West of Food Editing

Wendy Allen, copy editor, Organic Valley and freelance digital editor and copy editor, Edible Madison magazine; Janet Keeler, visiting assistant professor, coordinator, graduate food writing and photography certificate program, University of South Florida St. Petersburg

Despite the popularity and abundance of cookbooks, online recipe sites, and food blogs, food-writing style is still a Wild West. Cheddar (uppercase) or cheddar (lowercase)? Is it farmer’s, farmers’ or farmers market? Oddities like these mean there’s plenty of opportunity for sharp copy editors who can spot the holes in recipes and make so-so copy sizzle. In this interactive session, we’ll review some frustrating (and amusing) inconsistencies, cliches, and outright mistakes running amok in the food-writing field. But never fear — we’ll also share resources and helpful tips to help you tame the chili…or is it chile?


Saturday, March 25

9 – 10 a.m.

The Value of Narrative Stories in Corporate Communications

Teresa Schmedding, managing editor, Rotary International

Narrative stories are emerging as one of the hottest trends in corporate communications. Learn what makes a narrative story, why it is so valuable, and how the editing process is different from that of other business communications.

Editing for Diverse Audiences

Jevon Bolden, senior editor, Scholastic Book Fairs

All stories matter. Editing content for today’s global audience requires sensitivity and knowledge of diverse audiences, an understanding of cultural and ethnic language nuances, and a special grace for handling unintentional offenses with tact and positivity.

Persuasive Pricing: A Strategic Approach to Your Freelance Rates

Jake Poinier, owner, Boomvang Creative Group

Strategic pricing of your freelance services isn’t just a matter of throwing out a number and praying a client says “yes.” In this session, attendees will learn the critical steps of formulating a value-based rate structure and presenting estimates in the most persuasive manner possible. Topics include:

Online Verification and Investigation

Craig Silverman, media editor, BuzzFeed News

This session provides an overview of the tools and techniques you can use to investigate websites, social accounts, people, as well as other online information and entities. Based on case studies from work tracking down fake news entrepreneurs, spammers, and other bad actors, this session will arm you with a debuker’s toolkit and the knowledge you need to put it to use.

How to Get Your Dream Job on the Web

Emmy Favilla, global copy chief, BuzzFeed; Megan Paolone, deputy copy chief, BuzzFeed

Want to land a job as a copy editor for the web but unsure where to start? This session will cover getting your foot in the door, preparing for an interview and copy test, and crafting the perfect resume and cover letter. Learn the best methods for networking and making a presence for yourself on the web, as well as what hiring editors for online publications and organizations are looking for.


10:15 – 11:45 a.m.

The Art of the Possible: The Dictionary as Authority of a Changing Language

Anne Curzan, University of Michigan, Kory Stamper, Merriam-Webster, Peter Sokolowski, Merriam-Webster

Language is constantly changing–vocabulary, usage rules, styling–and editors must know when (and where) to follow. They often turn to reference works, like dictionaries and usage dictionaries, to help them navigate where the language is going. But these works have their limits. This panel discussion will focus on how dictionaries and other reference works are compiled, how they have changed over time, and how the information presented in a definition can be used by editors. A question and answer period will follow.”

Google News Lab Research Tools

Debora Wenger, associate professor of journalism and department chair, University of Mississippi

Attend this workshop to get an overview of how Google’s tools can help you research stories, fact-check figures, find what’s trending, and locate and visualize useful data sets for media and publishing. The workshop will highlight: advanced Google Search techniques and refinements, Google Trends, Google Public Data Explorer, Google Maps, and more to ensure you’re fully covered on how to fully uncover things. Sample of Google News Lab tools:

Streamline Your Business With Systems

Lori Paximadis, owner, Pax Studio LLC; Jodi Brandon, president, Jodi Brandon Editorial

Running a freelance business is not for sissies. Not only do you need to do what your clients hire you to do, but you must also nurture your client relationships, find new clients, manage your overall workflow and individual projects, keep on top of your invoices and finances, and so much more — all without losing your mind. This session will explore how to use systems to save time, increase productivity, bring flow to your business, and ultimately make more money.

How to Fact-Check

Brooke Borel, independent journalist and author of “The Chicago Guide to Fact-Checking”

The author of “The Chicago Guide to Fact-Checking” pulls from her experience as a fact-checker and science journalist, as well as from 90 interviews and a 200-person survey she conducted for the book, to offer step-by-step instructions and general advice to fact-checkers.

Save Time and Your Sanity: Increase Your Efficiency With Microsoft Word

Rhonda Bracey, managing director, CyberText Consulting Pty Ltd.

Many of us use Word regularly. But are we using it efficiently? Learn practical tips to help you become more efficient with Microsoft Word for Windows, including how to:


1:30 – 2:30 p.m.

Learning to Let Go: Combatting Perfectionism When Deadlines Loom

Laura Lattimer, senior editor, Reingold; Rachel Godward, senior editor, Reingold

Every editor knows some version of this scene: A colleague stops by your desk to ask if you can “just take a quick look” at a document. It’s 50 pages of unedited copy, due today. Because we editors are trained to catch any and all typos, flag inconsistencies, and smooth out confusing language, ignoring that itch to achieve perfection can feel impossible, particularly under deadline. Attend this session to learn strategies and practices for finding your Zen in high-stress moments, helping you to connect with the bigger picture, delegate responsibility, and let go of the need to fix it all.

Government Contract Editing — Guidelines to Make It Work

Helen O’Guinn, editor, Highpoint Global; Elizabeth LaPlante, manager, editing team, Highpoint Global

Uncle Sam has his eyes on your commas! Spurred by the 2010 Plain Writing Act, government agencies have begun to whack bureaucratese from their documents. In just 60 minutes, we’ll help arm you with ideas that work: phrases you should never say to a client; the power of established editing procedures; nailing down your plain language style; and communicating artfully with someone who last thought about grammar in seventh grade.

Editors and Accessible Content: Captions, Alternate Text, and Accessibility Style Guides

Heidi Doxey, assessment editor, Western Governors University; Michelle Ostrowski, assessment editor, Western Governors University; Ashley Bischoff, editor/owner, Friendly Editing; Char James-Tanny, Schneider Electric

As editors, we strive to minimize bias in text. We want our readers to be respected and our language to be respectful. But a related factor we must consider to help our readers is accessibility — not to mention it’s required by law. This session will address the basics every editor needs to know about creating accessible, ADA-compliant content, including how to edit video captions, write alternate text for images and graphics, check and improve readability, and establish your own style guide for accommodations. No matter what you’re editing, we’ll help you make it more accessible for your readers.

Cookbook Editing from Soup to Nuts

Karen Wise, freelance copy editor

What do you need to know to edit a cookbook, for either a traditional book publisher or an individual looking to self-publish? We’ll first look at the different types of cookbooks and what that means for the copy editor, plus a rundown of the typical outline of a cookbook. Then we’ll dig in to the nitty-gritty — all the required and optional components of a recipe, including sequence, style conventions, and the many do’s and don’ts. We’ll also talk about which reference works to rely on and what to do when they don’t agree.

Webster’s Unabridged of 1864: The Invention of the Modern Dictionary

Peter Sokolowski, editor at large, Merriam-Webster

Noah Webster’s work was showing its age and its shortcomings by the mid-nineteenth century, when competition drove the publishers to a moment of truth and of disruption. The decisions they subsequently made set the course for the company’s editorial and business policies to this day. This change from the idiosyncratic work of an individual to the organized effort of a team was an important and influential moment in the development of modern lexicography, and it is best understood alongside the business strategies that were its motivation. Webster’s work, the details of the War of the Dictionaries, and the teamwork resulting in the landmark edition of 1864 will all be discussed.


2:45 – 3:45 p.m.

Small Staffs

Tim Yagle, copy editor and page designer, Napa Valley Register; Richard Dyer, editor, Independent News Media Inc.

This panel will discuss in an open forum the benefits and pitfalls of working on a smaller staff and how to best take advantage of what you have. We’ll talk about problems that beset smaller staffs and try to find ways to solve them, or at least offer a fresh perspective on them through group discussion.

Social Studies: Editing in a Post-Print World

Sheri Gibson, editor and communications coordinator, Louisiana Art & Science Museum; Sherrie Voss Matthews, senior manager, internal communications, University Health System; Gregory T. Matthews, director of digital media, KENS 5 (TEGNA)

How do you take the skills you’ve honed for print and make them work for video, social media, and e-newsletters? If you work for a small company or nonprofit, at some point you will likely be asked to take on certain communications roles for which you never trained. Learn how to adapt your skills to editing a variety of media, including graphics, quizzes, tweets, Facebook, Instagram, photos, videos, slide shows, listicles, and memes. We’ll teach you how to develop a critical eye to maintain credibility and present your message in a concise and creative way.

Writing to Requirements: Helping Authors Tell Their Story

Laura Cameron, editor, Washington State Auditor’s Office

Some authors write because they’re writers, but some people — in academia or government, for instance — write because their jobs require them to. When they struggle to find the compelling story in their research, a thoughtful editor can help them organize the facts, develop the structure that suits their story, and choose the most effective words to tell it. This session uses real-world first drafts and final publications from government performance reports, showing queries, line edits, and revisions that took place along the way.

How to Diagram Sentences — and Why

Lisa McLendon, Bremner Editing Center coordinator, University of Kansas

Perhaps you learned to diagram sentences in grade school but never understood the point. Or you never learned and wonder what the fuss is about. This session will go step-by-step through how to diagram sentences, from simple to compound-complex, and discuss why diagramming is a useful tool to spot errors and awkward sentence structure.

Quality Control in Corporate Communications

Samantha Enslen, president, Dragonfly Editorial, Josh Olejarz, Copyeditor/Assistant Editor, Harvard Business Review, Laine Entin, Digital Writer & Editor, GE Power, Kate Everson, Communications Specialist, Boeing, Fred Solomon, Sr. Assoc. Marketing Publications Writer, Thermo Fisher Scientific

Editing marketing communications is different from editing other types of text. You must apply your knowledge of grammar and style. But you must also take brand voice, audience, and messaging goals into account. How do you strike the right balance? In this session, you’ll learn five critical questions to ask before editing any marketing material. You’ll also learn to develop a sophisticated editorial hand that ensures accuracy while maintaining your brand’s voice.

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