Refreshing to Improve at Refining

Refreshing to Improve at Refining

May 4, 2021 By David Phandara Conferences

Keynote speaker Anissa Gray, senior editor at CNN, summed up the challenge of editing for news as an “exercise at feeding the beast”.

The act of editing can spark joy, but when it becomes too much for the editor to handle, the spark sometimes begins to diminish.

“At the heart of it all, you have editors who are feeling inundated and lose sight of why they got into the business in the first place,” said Gray.

Burnout could mean substandard results, the opposite of the purpose of editing. Gray reminded editors to focus on the goal: good storytelling.

“The primary responsibility is to the reader and the viewer... The foundations of everything that editors do is integrity and quality in storytelling… This acts as the ‘North Star’ in the day-to-day tumult,” said Gray.

Many editors will encounter burnout at some point in their careers. Gray switched genres to rejuvenate her love for editing. Here are alternative solutions from the ACES community on Twitter:

“Unplug, turn your to-do list into a celebration list, include variety, and drink lots of water,” said Ariel Anderson (@ArielCopyEdits). 
“Going on a regular #StetWalk helps,” said Marieke Krijnen (@MariekeGent).
“Plan before you edit, how much will be edited today and how much can be left for tomorrow. Don’t be hasty and remember that developing something needs patience,” said Adnan Athar (@adnanjournalism).
“A tired editor makes mistakes. As counter-intuitive as it may seem, taking breaks is necessary to do your job,” said Lauren Starky (@LaurenStarky).

The editor's role in strong storytelling is invaluable, so anything that helps editors to fulfill that role is also important. Wear a self-care badge with honor. For more tips on self-care, check out this article from a past #ACESchat here

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