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General Impressions: “In praise of editors”

Last month, on Salon.com, Gary Kamiya wrote a very interesting article titled “Let us now praise editors,” which you can read here: http://www.salon.com/opinion/kamiya/2007/07/24/editing . Janice Gelb sent this article to our discussion list, quoting a few passages from it, and I was surprised that we did not start any discussions around it.

As I finished the article, I was left with a series of questions that I thought we might enjoy discussing. Please feel free to write a comment here to our blog, but please also subscribe to our discussion list, and see what gets going over there.

Here are the questions that this article raised for me:
  • Are editors less confident than writers? Kamiya said that “a good editor needs to be as self-confident as a writer” (mainly because we are dealing in a subjective realm of trying to improve the writing for the reader).
  • Is writing harder than editing? Kamiya said that writing is very creative, whereas editing is reactive. Initially, I agreed with that statement, but upon reflection I’m not so sure.
  • Are editors an endangered species, especially with online and Internet publishing? I’d like to think that those writers, those businesses, those publishers who value high quality writing for their readers will not allow us to go the way of the dodo bird. Kamiya stated: “The art of editing is running against the cultural tide. We are in an age of volume; editing is about refinement. It’s about getting deeper into a piece, its ideas, its structure, its language.” This was one of the few places in the article that Kamiya acknowledged that editing is more than just grammar and style, but it was appropriately located.

Kamiya ends his article by truly singing the praises of editors and suggests, “Someone is noticing. Someone is reading. Someone cares.” I sure hope he is right. What do you think? Is someone noticing?

Page last modified on Saturday, November 22, 2008 05:24:17pm EST
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