A recap of #EditorTherapy session with @profKRG and me

In case you missed it, here is a rough transcript of the Q and A I did with Kenna Griffin on her “Editor Therapy” live session. It’s all just the basics, not including the additional comments from posters in reaction to us. (It’s hard to capture the core of what is going on during a tweet up after the fact.) In any case, I hope you enjoy it!


I apologize for the excess tweets during the next hour as I host #EditorTherapy chat. Please join us!


Welcome to #EditorTherapy. I’m so happy you’re here!


It’s no secret that the tools we use to report the news are changing, as are audience expectations.


However, we also know that many of the fundamentals of journalism remain constant.


Tonight’s guest literally wrote the books on the changing nature of journalism.


Vince Filak (@DoctorOfPaper) is a professor and adviser to The Advance Titan (@atitan) at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh (@uwoshkosh).


In addition, @DoctorOfPaper is the author of five journalism textbooks, including the Dynamics of Media Writing. Vince’s sixth book, Dynamics of Media Editing is due out in 2019.


We are fortunate to have @DoctorOfPaper with us to share his expertise on what’s changing and what’s remaining constant in journalism.


Before we dig in, please introduce yourself, including your title and student media outlet. #EditorTherapy


I am Kenna, a journalism professor and collegiate media adviser for @MediaOCU. #EditorTherapy


You can follow along with the chat with the #EditorTherapy hashtag and by following @profkrg.


We will use the Q&A format for the chat. Please include “A” and the question number before your responses. #EditorTherapy


Also, don’t forget the #EditorTherapy hashtag on all of your responses.


Q1 is on the way! Please introduce yourself now if you haven’t already.


Q1: Through your research and writing, what have you found to be the constants in journalism… things we all should foucs on? #EditorTherapy


A1: You need to communicate clearly and effectively via the best possible platform. #EditorTherapy


A1: Also, you need to focus on audience-centricity: What do your readers want to know, not what do you want to say. #EditorTherapy


A1: Finally, accuracy matters above all else. If you are clear and concise but wrong, you’re not helping anyone. #EditorTherapy


Q2: Overall, how are student journalists doing with these constants? What are some things they should focus on?


A2: Well in some cases, poorly in others. The understanding what a “fact” is needs work. #EditorTherapy


A2: The issue of how to tell people what matters most first could be stronger. #EditorTherapy


A2: However, they understand their peers and they work well in communicating with them. #EditorTherapy




Q3: What have you found to be the greatest changes in journalism… things we must adapt to? #EditorTherapy


A3: The days of “general interest” content are over. We need to come to grips with that. #EditorTherapy


A3: We need to look at what niche we fill w/our student publications and then defend that niche. #EditorTherapy


A3: I don’t need the @atitan to tell me about @RealDonaldTrump’s latest decree. I can get that anywhere. #EditorTherapy


A3: I need stuff I can’t get elsewhere, stuff about UWO. Be the expert at this niche and you’re good. #EditorTherapy



Q4: How are student journalists doing, overall, with these changes? #EditorTherapy


A4: It varies. Above all, students need to focus on “right tool, right job.” This matters a lot. #EditorTherapy


A4: Example: Some students who wouldn’t pick up a print paper insist on a print-first mentality. #EditorTherapy


A4: Some folks use Twitter for a specific purpose as a “receiver” of info, but don’t use it that way to “send” content. #EditorTherapy


A4: In other cases, students get it. They use the tools they would use to get info to communicate with readers. #EditorTherapy



Q5: What are some tools that today’s student journalists must have in their toolboxes? #EditorTherapy


A5: I believe you can NEVER have too many tools in your toolbox. It’s all about using them properly. #EditorTherapy


A5: Skills: Clarity, precision, accuracy, ability to connect w/an audience all matter. #EditorTherapy


A5: The biggest thing is being able to explain: “This matters to you, the reader, because…” #EditorTherapy


A5: In terms of platforms, they change so quickly, it’s tough to say what to use. That’s why skills matter more. #EditorTherapy


A5: I had to redo my “web” chapters in my reporting book TWICE before publication d/t tech shifts. #EditorTherapy


A5: Still, skills transfer: e.g. If you can write in a simple N-V-O structure, you can do headlines and tweets well. #EditorTherapy



Q6: What do you see as the most important trait that student journalists need, heading into the profession? #EditorTherapy


A6: Wonder and grit. If you don’t say “I wonder why” at least once a day, you won’t find great story ideas. #EditorTherapy


A6: Grit matters because without it, you’ll never get the answers you want when you are working a story. #EditorTherapy



Q7: Address the elephant in the chat. Is news dying? Is journalism still a viable career option? #EditorTherapy


A7: News will never die. Our definition of it and our consumption habits change but the “need to know” is eternal. #EditorTherapy

A7: We need to better understand what people need and how they want to receive it. #EditorTherapy


A7: Years ago, we wrote what we wanted and people had no real choice but to consume it how we sent it. #EditorTherapy


A7: Now, those standard news values alone don’t drive consumptions and we must cater to our readers better. #EditorTherapy


A7: I don’t mean pander to their wants, but rather focus on preferences of delivery for things they need. #EditorTherapy



Q8: Your next book is about editing. What did you find remained constant in editing process? #EditorTherapy


A8: 1) If you spell something wrong, someone will notice and think you are an idiot. #EditorTherapy


A8: 2) Editing is a multifaceted approach to content improvement. If you focus on that, you help the readers. #EditorTherapy


A8: 3) Everyone needs and editor (or two or three of them…) #EditorTherapy



Q9: What were some of the changes you found in your research of editing? #EditorTherapy


A9: Just like other J-areas, editing is about effectively reaching an audience. #EditorTherapy


A9: The editing aspect is shifting somewhat away from painstakingly adhering to grammar. #EditorTherapy


A9: Old-school: Like classical music, notes-on-page approach. New-school: Jazz, a structure with variations as needed. #EditorTherapy



Q10: What types of leadership skills do student journalists need to hone to carry with them into the profession? #EditorTherapy


A10: Leadership in general is key. We don’t train people how to be managers in school.  #EditorTherapy


A10: I once saw a line that “Editors are reporters whose feet have grown weary.” That’s been our approach.  #EditorTherapy


A10: Reporting and editing are two different skills. We need to help them with certain skills of management.  #EditorTherapy


A10: Skills: Collaboration, calmness, organization, finding common ground, learning to help others.  #EditorTherapy


Q11: In all of the research you’ve done on editing, writing and convergent journalism, what are some findings that surprised you? #EditorTherapy


A11: Most of the problems we face aren’t about the technology or news, but about the culture.  #EditorTherapy


A11: Convergence essentially failed because people held biases toward their old media identities.  #EditorTherapy


A11: Technology doesn’t matter as much as the core skills (writing/editing) and storytelling do.  #EditorTherapy


A11: One book I read said “The tone is in your fingers,” which meant technology won’t save lousy work.  #EditorTherapy



Q12: Blog ? from @GrammarPurist: “How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?” #EditorTherapy


A12: A “chuck-load” of it.  #EditorTherapy


Q13: Important! Where can we buy your books? #EditorTherapy


A13: Amazon stocks them. My new one “Dynamics of News Reporting” comes out in 2018.  #EditorTherapy


A13: You can bid on an advance proof copy via @SPLC book auction at the ACP/CMA Dallas convention.  #EditorTherapy


A13: The blog, dynamicsofwriting.com, adds to both writing texts. Swing by and give it a look.  #EditorTherapy





Thank you so much for attending! #EditorTherapy


Did you know there is an #EditorTherapy Facebook page? I’d love to connect with you there.https://www.facebook.com/Editortherapy


We will not have #EditorTherapy next week because many students and advisers will be at #collegemedia17. Who will we see there?


Until next time, please visit me at www.profkrg.com for more practical resources for student journalists. #EditorTherapy



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