ACES: Year in review

ACES: Year in review

December 23, 2020 By Sara Ziegler, Henry Fuhrmann, ACES Staff ACES News
Sara Ziegler, ACES President

Now more than ever, in these uncertain times, we face unprecedented challenges.


I’ve rolled my eyes over and over this year at those phrases in commercials, corporate tweets and brand emails. They’re so commonplace now that when I typed “we face un…” into Google Docs, the software autofilled “... precedented” for me. That’s like a big, flashing *CLICHE ALERT* warning.

And yet …

As I sat down to write this letter, I found my attitude softening toward all those copywriters out there trying to get across their message in the middle of a pandemic.

These ARE uncertain times. What we’ve faced this year HAS been unprecedented. And now more than ever, it IS important to say just how grateful we are. So forgive me these cliches just this once. 

When the coronavirus forced ACES to cancel its in-person conference in April, I truly wasn’t sure what it would mean for our organization. The ACES executive committee has made huge strides in the past decade to make sure there was a healthy financial cushion in place should a disaster strike, but I still worried that not holding our signature event would leave a hole we couldn’t fill. 

I shouldn’t have doubted this amazing group. Despite the unprecedented challenges, the work put in by the incredible ACES professional staff and our training committee meant we were ready to go: We held a virtual conference on May 1 and followed it with frequent online training throughout the year, and we made our library of sessions available for free to members and nonmembers alike through July. In August, we launched The ACES Academy, a home for all of our training opportunities, including live and recorded webcasts, virtual boot camps, and on-demand courses. 

And our membership has soared: As of Dec. 1, ACES had 4,253 members — up 22 percent from our 3,482 members at the same time a year ago. You have continued to support us in these uncertain times, and we have continued to grow to support you. ACES’ new training and education manager, Ashly Stewart, started work in November and will lead our exciting efforts to bring you even more training opportunities. Ashly joins Abbi Booth, our executive director, and Kim Lawyer, our communication manager, on our full-time staff.

No one is sure of what’s coming next, of course. But I know that the great work of our staff and executive committee will set us up well to handle whatever that is. And the support of our members has made all the difference in the world. It should go without saying (though I won’t let it!), but now more than ever, I’m grateful for all of you. Thank you so much for being a part of this organization. 

Sara Ziegler

President, ACES: The Society for Editing

Henry Fuhrmann, ACES Education Fund President

The awarding of seven college scholarships and the launch of the Richard S. Holden Diversity Fellowship for early and mid-career editors highlighted a memorable year for the ACES Education Fund.

The class of 2019-20 scholarship honorees included Annalee Hubbs, the third winner of the Bill Walsh scholarship. The $3,500 award, named for the late Washington Post copy editor, author, and member of the Education Fund board of directors, is given annually to a college student who aspires to enter the news business. Annalee, a journalism major in the Mahurin Honors College at Western Kentucky University, is set to graduate next year. 

Caroline Fairey of the University of South Carolina received the other top award, the $2,500 Aubespin scholarship, named for Merv Aubespin, an early proponent of the formation of ACES. Caroline graduated in the spring with a B.A. in English and global studies and is working for an educational research foundation. 

In addition, five students were awarded ACES scholarships of $1,500: Sarah Bahr, who was recognized for her achievements as a master’s student in English at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis; Gabrielle Bethancourt-Hughes, a master’s student in publishing at George Washington University; Nolan Brey, a pre-law student at the University of Kansas; Amy Megill, a master’s student in publishing at George Washington University; and Becca Miserlian, an English major at the University of Puget Sound. All are now working as editors or writers, completing their studies, or pursuing higher degrees.

Alex Cruden, vice president of the Education Fund, again coordinated the scholarship competitions. The judges for the Bill Walsh award were Bill’s wife, Jacqueline Dupree, whose generous matching gift established the award fund in 2017, as well as Mark Allen, Carrie Camillo, and Bill’s brothers, Kenneth Walsh and Terence Walsh. Longtime ACES volunteers Lindsay Augustyn, Carol Carpenter, Aileen Houston, Jeff Kleinman, and Kari Majewski judged the Aubespin and ACES scholarship competitions. 

The Education Fund, in partnership with the Dow Jones News Fund, announced the Richard S. Holden Diversity Fellowship in the summer. The pilot program is dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion by advancing early- and mid-career professionals in their work as editors and aspiring industry leaders. The fellowship recognizes the work of the late Rich Holden, who championed diversity in editing as the longtime managing director of the Dow Jones News Fund. 

The first three Holden Fellows will each receive up to $3,000 to apply to course tuition, conference fees, travel, or other costs related to their continuing career development and skill building. They are Ruksana Hussain, a magazine editor and freelance writer working in Los Angeles; Erich Lagasse, an editor and translator in Houston who works in Spanish and English; and Vee White, an editor in Philadelphia who specializes in healthcare communications and educational material. They were recognized for their outstanding work in advancing diversity and elevating editorial standards in their workplaces or with clients. 

Linda Shockley, the recently retired managing director of the Dow Jones News Fund, led the judging of the initial Holden competition, working with Paula Fuchsberg, an editor at Vanguard and member of the ACES Education Fund board; James Hammond, a retired longtime editor and reporter at Dow Jones and other news organizations; and Ruthanne Salido, a multiplatform editing manager at the Los Angeles Times and graduate of the Dow Jones News Fund’s summer program.

Startup funding for the Holden Fellowship was provided by grants of $7,500 each from the ACES Education Fund and the Dow Jones News Fund, as well as generous donations from individual members of the Education Fund board and other friends of Rich Holden. The pilot program was bolstered by a $6,000 grant from the Scripps Howard Foundation, and additional significant contributions during the year from the Dow Jones News Fund and ACES through its fundraising campaigns.

The Education Fund thanks all of its donors for their continuing generosity in a challenging year. A highlight was the annual #GivingTuesday drive on Dec. 1, which raised $9,480 from 84 donors, nearly doubling the dollar goal of $5,000. 

The Education Fund board, an all-volunteer group of 13 ACES members, welcomed two new editors to its ranks: Paul Chevannes of Tiffany & Co. and Maisha Maurant of Rock Central and the ACES parent board. 

Early in the new year, the Education Fund board will announce the next class of scholars, for the 2020-21 academic year, and open applications for the next cohort of Holden Fellows. 

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