Click on the link to read the EditorsWA President’s Report from the Annual Branch Meeting on 30 July 2019:
Networking opportunity with writers
We are about to host one of our most focused outreach events ever on 13 April. Rather than contemplating our own navels and talking to ourselves we are stepping outside our immediate community to talk with a wider audience. This is what we need to do in order to showcase the wonderful things that IPEd does, and our members’ excellent work. We really look forward to you joining us for this unique networking experience.
IPEd’s goal: build relations with aligned organisations
One of IPEd’s goals is to build relations with people and organisations whose interests are aligned with those of editors. Writers, indexers and media professionals come to mind. There are also companies and government departments wanting to assure the clarity, persuasiveness or appropriateness of language used by their staff in written reports and communiqués.
Of these groups writers form the largest cohort. As becomes clear at every writers’ festival, the field exhibits huge diversity, from fiction to reporting, feature writing, science writing, history and arts writing. It’s hard to imagine a group that fits the bill — interests aligned with IPEd’s — more than writers.
Spotlight on narratives
We have chosen to spotlight our relations with writers who work with narrative (fiction or non-fiction) on 13 April. We invited members of the writers’ centres of WA and other Perth writing groups to come together, communicate and network with editors in a day-long course. Our special guest from Victoria, Kate Cuthbert, will show us why narrative matters and why working with narrative writers can benefit editors. She will use genre writing to do that. Poised between a seminar and a workshop, full of examples and exercises, Kate’s intensive course will offer something for both the writer and the editor in many ways, highlighting the value of each and of the relationship between them.
You can be part of this drive to broaden our networks. If you come, remember to bring along your business card! Even if you can’t make it please spread the word.
Note: You may wish to arrive early for a light breakfast snack at the Farmers Market in the Subiaco Primary School next door to Theatre Gardens; it’s a practical and enjoyable way find a convenient parking space and extend a fun day.
The ‘good’ editor: practice, principles and ethics
With a title like this, dreamed up by stalwart committee member Jan Knight, Editors WA’s annual Winter Seminar was always going to be intriguing. The lively content delivered by our three expert presenters more than matched that promise, provoking plenty of impromptu interaction from the audience.
Thanks to the organisers
We must thank the seminar organiser, our IPEd Councillor Stephen White, as well as our Secretary Tracy Piper, for their hard work in providing an excellent professional development opportunity for the 17 members who attended on 25 August at Mt Lawley Senior High School (and thus scored a formal Certificate of Attendance for their CV portfolios). Our new half-day format seemed to work well, but we welcome further feedback from members on this.
Diversity was guaranteed, given the presenters’ disparate backgrounds:
Vanessa Herbert, Director of PDT Consultancy, a trainer and consultant to both the private and public sectors for the past 25 years with special expertise in leadership, strategic planning and communications and performance development. firstname.lastname@example.org
David Lindsay, Emeritus Professor, UWA, a former teacher and researcher in agricultural and animal sciences, but also a renowned science communicator, the author of Science Writing – Thinking in Words (2011). email@example.com
Rhonda Bracey, one of our own, an IPEd member and professional contract technical editor who runs her own business, editing for software, mining and resources companies, as well as government departments. She brought to the seminar table her expertise in editing automation software including Microsoft Word. firstname.lastname@example.org
We’ve been seeing a few corporate-style documents out of IPEd HQ lately, such as codes of conduct, confidentiality and conflict of interest agreements. So it was timely for Vanessa Herbert to examine the conflict of interest zone within the editing profession in her presentation on ethics. She counselled editors to exercise ‘mindfulness’, always being aware of the current situation and its broader context, understanding its ‘text’ and most importantly, its ‘subtexts’ whether they be body language, cultural values or background history. Transparency is the goal, she said; aim to be ‘crystal clear’ about your meaning and intent.
Vanessa Herbert discussing ethics with the group at the 2018 Winter Seminar.
We should realise that perceptions may also have a real impact. When you are asked to declare a conflict of interest, you should not feel that your personal integrity is being assessed or questioned, but rather understand that if there is an opportunity (or even the perception of an opportunity, equally a potential opportunity) to use your role to gain a personal benefit, then a conflict of interest does exist.
Conflicts of interest don’t always present themselves at the beginning of a job so that you can decide from the start whether to take the job or not. Very often, they present in the middle of a job when you have already taken an advance progress payment or have spent many hours working on the project. Sometimes, you may just need to call a wise friend (or IPEd) to discuss the problem!
Vanessa posed us some challenging dilemmas for discussion. Here’s just one to test you:
As a contracting editor, I work on producing an organisational report into the growth areas for a company and the nature of the professional roles that will be part of an expansion in the next six months. My husband has just lost his job and I can provide him with insight into what the organisation is looking for.
Well, should you, would you, do it?
I found David Lindsay’s contribution to the seminar revelatory. He scientifically reverse- engineered the act of writing well, something many good authors and editors do almost instinctively, to give us a theory of how it is done—a theory that can then be taught to novices. He dismantled the structure of not just whole documents, but of paragraphs and sentences too, to reveal their nuts-and-bolts components. He made a strong case for his hypothesis: that the principles of good scientific communication can be applied across the board to all writing and editing. He believes that good science communicators are telling a ‘story’ like any other writer.
David explained how the ‘principle of expectation’ dominates all successful writing. For example, an article’s title flags something interesting that is coming in the text and entices the reader to read on. Readers who read with an expectation find reading easier and are more likely to understand and retain what they read than those who have no idea what is coming next.
The same principle applies to the whole text. Just as a scientist’s hypothesis, the cornerstone of any scientific paper, sets expectations at the beginning, so each section, paragraph and sentence should have embedded in them an introduction setting expectations, a delivery of results and their interpretation (discussion) and a conclusion. Connections are then built between sections, between paragraphs and between sentences using ‘signpost words’ that are repeated strategically to link the sense of the whole piece from one point to another.
Interestingly, applying David’s principles of writing could well lead most of us to what IPEd terms ‘substantive’ or structural editing (see p. viii of IPEd’s Australian standards for editing practice, 2nd ed., under ‘The fundamentals of editing’). We would have to rewrite a lot more. Take for example his discussion of a title for a scientific paper:
Original title: ‘Fluoride concentration in drinking water samples in Fiji’ (boring!)
Suggested alternative titles, given the actual content of the paper:
- ‘Fluoride concentration in drinking water samples in Fiji is below minimum standards’
- ‘The case for fluoridation of drinking water in Fiji’.
The most desirable characteristics of good scientific writing listed by David—precision, clarity and brevity—are surely equally desirable in most non-scientific writing. It was also interesting to hear him say that good paragraphing has become a lost art in modern writing, yet it is a valuable and powerful tool in scientific writing, and possibly in all writing.
David’s concluding advice will surely resonate with all writers and editors: ‘Keep the reader in mind’.
Rhonda Bracey is a legend for her business efficiency and she certainly demonstrated why in her presentation. She knows about things that most of us never even dreamed Microsoft Word could do! For instance, did you realise that Word’s AutoCorrect function can be customised to automatically insert phrases or paragraphs up to 256 characters long? So instead of laboriously making the same comment repeatedly in the margins of the document you are editing, you can just code a single word, ‘.sense’ for example (note the full stop before ‘sense’ to bring a frequently used correction to the top of the AutoCorrect list), to automatically insert the whole sentence ‘This doesn’t make sense’, or ‘.cap’ to expand into ‘Does this need to be capitalised?’
Rhonda is also a strong advocate of minimising use of the computer mouse, to protect your hands, wrists and arms. She advises us all to get more familiar with keyboard shortcuts—you can get a list of all the shortcuts available in Word if you click through the path File→Macros→View Macros→Macros in→Word Commands→List Commands→Run—and you can even create your own shortcuts if you go File→Options→Customise Ribbon. Automation of tasks is the name of Rhonda’s game.
One of her standard tools is the checklist—hers is seven pages long—which itemises all the things you should do when starting a job. Checklists are vital to ensure you do not forget basics like ‘Never work on the original document, always make a copy!’ or ‘Check Styles’. Rhonda checks all formatting in a document first, and then makes sure that everything is shown onscreen, from formatting marks (but never in Track Changes) to field shading (don’t touch that grey-shaded stuff in the Contents list—it’s probably set up by the author using some program like EndNote) and table gridlines. She recommends you move your Quick Access Toolbar below the ribbon at the top, for easier access.
Rhonda Bracey demonstrating the merits of checklists at the 2018 Winter Seminar.
Rhonda also introduced us to her favourite software programs for editors, namely PerfectIt, EditTools and PhraseExpress. Hilary Cadman of Cadman Editing is one of the best-known exponents of PerfectIt; her online workshops can be found on YouTube. Rhonda pointed out that PerfectIt—essentially a consistency checker—can be customised, rendering the traditional style sheet virtually redundant.
EditTools has some sophisticated tools suitable to specialised editing, for example in the sciences, with useful functions such as ‘Never Spell Word’ for words that are peculiar to a discipline and do not need checking, and a Commonly Misspelled Words option. An extra fee can buy special aids such as a complete list of the correct titles for most academic journals.
PhraseExpress specialises in automated templates and autocorrects to speed up editing. Finally, Rhonda advised us to subscribe to online dictionaries and style guides, and to join both formal and informal organisations such as ACES, the Society for Editing (US) and SfEP, the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (UK) on the formal side. On the less formal side are the Facebook sites for the ‘Editors’ Association of Earth’ and Australia’s ‘Secret Editors’ Business’, both of which include private subgroups, where many IPEd and non-IPEd editors chat about a wide range of subjects.
I left the seminar feeling both educated and inspired to learn more. I’m confident that most attendees would have felt the same, but once again, do give us your feedback. For a start, Rhonda Bracey has written her views on the Winter Seminar in her blog.
Ilsa Sharp, a freelance editor with a background in Asia, specialising in non-fiction and academic editing, is currently Acting President of Editors WA. She can be contacted at email@example.com.
Have you polished your editing halo lately?
Ours are looking a little tarnished, so we’re going to the Winter Seminar on Saturday 25 August for a refresher on what it is to be a ‘good’ editor. Why not join us there to get your ‘goodness’ credentials glowing again?
IPEd members $90
, Non-members, $120
Reduced Price — Student and concession card members now just $33
Vanessa Herbert, PDT Consultancy: Vanessa will explore the application and implications of the IPEd codes of ethics and conduct in editing practices.
Prof. David Lindsay, Researcher and science communicator: We’ve invited David to review the writing skills he feels are most valuable for editors to help clients tell their story clearly and effectively.
Rhonda Bracey, Contract Technical Editor: Rhonda will share practical tips and useful software for improving effectiveness and efficiency in editing.
Visit the Winter Workshop event page to read more about the presenters and what you will learn from this workshop.
Registration extended — now closes midday Thursday 23 August
Enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org
IPEd’s national office has released documents for its review of the Constitution and By-laws (formerly referred to as branch by-laws). Hopefully you have already read about this in the CEO reports from Karen Lee, or in a recent edition of Bookworm.
These reviews are the biggest change to IPEd’s governing principles since the transition to direct membership in June/July 2016. Some changes are copy editing corrections and should be uncontroversial. Many of the substantive changes signalled so far by Council and staff are recommendations and are provisional — but other changes are required under the Corporations Act 2001.
This link opens a PDF of the review documents (3 MB). For each of the documents under review, there is a table describing the proposed changes and a copy of the original document marked up with revisions.
We can provide feedback by writing notes to address points in either or both of the documents. I imagine it would also be fine to add comments directly in the PDF using the tools in your favourite PDF viewer. (The mark ups you see in the review papers cannot be accepted/rejected as they would be in a MS Word document.)
Please send feedback directly to the IPEd secretary, Connie Finestone:
by 31 August 2018
Opportunities for discussion
The IPEd secretary has scheduled a webinar to discuss the changes:
Tuesday 14 August 2018
It might be worth the Editors WA branch organising a local meeting to discuss any proposals we disagree with, or any other changes we would like to see made. Please email the Editors WA secretary, Tracy Piper (email@example.com), if you want the committee to arrange this.
Do you have questions about the process? Are you not able to access the review documents from the website?
For either of these, send an email to WA Councillor, Stephen White: firstname.lastname@example.org
Calling all visionary editors – your branch needs you
Editors WA is looking for its next branch president.
If you are motivated by these questions, and have the time and resources to commit, you could be the ideal candidate.
What does being branch president involve?
- Develop and nurture a vision for the WA branch of IPEd
- Coordinate committee roles and responsibilities
- Chair committee meetings
- Ensure there is an ongoing program of branch activities
- Communicate with members about services and resources
- Liaise with IPEd national office about branch issues
- Meet triannually with other branch presidents
- Liaise with related writing and publishing organisations
Read more in ‘Branch committee responsibilities and roles’ (PDF)
Candidates for branch president will:
- have been a member of Editors WA (formerly Society of Editors (WA)) for several years
- ideally have served at least one term on the branch committee
- be committed to promoting and advancing IPEd’s vision and goals
- have good people skills and be able to instil a sense of belonging and community
- be reasonably adept with web systems and media.
Register your interest by:
- contacting the current branch president (details below)
- nominating yourself, or asking someone to nominate you, for election at the branch AGM on Saturday 21 July 2018.
Notice of Annual General Meeting
Date: Saturday 21 July 2018
Time: 11:00 am start, finish by 12:00 midday
Where: Victoria Park Hotel, 605 Albany Highway, Victoria Park 6100
The event is free to attend but please register online via your IPEd member login and arrive early on the day. Everyone is welcome to stay on for a branch Café Society networking lunch after the AGM.
Annual General Meeting
The Editors WA branch of IPEd will hold its Annual General Meeting on Saturday 21 July 2018 to elect a committee for the 2018–19 year.
Finger food will be provided during the meeting and coffee, tea or other drinks can be purchased at this time.
Order of business
1) Welcome and acknowledgement of country
2) Acceptance of minutes from 2017 AGM
3) Editors WA annual report (EdWA president)
4) Finance report (Budget officer or nominated substitute)
5) Election of committee members
6) Any other business
Election of committee
Details of the rules and processes for electing a committee are given in the current Branch By-laws and IPEd Constitution. You can also read an excerpted summary of the process here.
All committee positions are open for renewal. As many members as needed to ensure effective running of the branch may be elected to the committee for 2018–19. Current committee members may be nominated or apply to continue on the branch committee. Financial IPEd members not currently on the committee are invited to seek nomination or apply to join the committee.
Download a nomination form here. Nominations or applications may be submitted up to and on the day of the AGM. All nominations must include signed consent by the nominee, including for nominations submitted on the day.
If needed, voting will be conducted during the AGM. Members who are unable to attend the meeting in person or by video conference may nominate a proxy to vote on their behalf. Please download the appointment of proxy form here.
Applicants or nominees for committee positions may also specify a committee role if they wish, but interest in committee membership with no specified role is also welcomed. The only formal position that may be decided at the AGM is that of branch president. Voting for that position will be conducted if and only if there is more than one nomination directly for that position.
Current committee roles are as follows:
- President (may be filled at AGM)
- Councillor (can be from outside the committee)
- Budget officer
- Website coordinator
- Newsletter editor
- Mentoring coordinator
- Accreditation Board delegate (can be from outside the committee and be appointed an ex officio member of committee)
The first meeting of the new committee will select a President (if the position has not been decided at the AGM). Other roles will be distributed among the rest of the committee at this time, too. If members of the newly formed committee have already indicated a preference for a particular role, this will be taken into consideration when roles are allocated.
Remember: register online using your IPEd member login.
Following the main business, the Café Society networking meeting will convene over lunch at the same venue. Food and drinks will be pay as you go.
Calling all editing advocates – your national body needs you
IPEd councillor for Western Australia
The Institute of Professional Editors (IPEd), through its Editors WA branch, is seeking a new councillor to represent IPEd in Western Australia.
Stephen White, WA councillor since early 2016, is stepping aside to allow a successor with verve and commitment to IPEd’s vision and objectives to take over. The councillor is a member of IPEd’s Board of Directors and may be co-opted to the branch committee (if not already a committee member). The term is usually two years from the date of the national AGM held in September/October. The position is voluntary but there is an honorarium.
A more detailed description of the tasks, requirements and benefits of the position is available here.
Other documents for prospective candidates are the Council mandate and Guide for councillors. Please contact Stephen to request these documents.
Feedback from survey of IPEd members Editors WA branch
Between late March and early April we circulated a survey that sought to understand more about what editors in Western Australia want from their membership. This was the first survey of members’ views in Western Australia since IPEd transitioned to direct membership in July 2016, and to our knowledge is the only statewide survey of branch or former Society of Editors (WA) members for this purpose since at least 2010.
The aim of this survey was to better understand members’ overall level of satisfaction with branch activities, and what members, the committee, or IPEd as an organisation might do to improve services to members in Western Australia. The survey was conducted using SurveyMonkey online surveying and was distributed to the Western Australia membership list by the IPEd Communications Officer.
There were 37 respondents out of a state membership of 102, so just over one-third of Western Australian members of IPEd responded. This is at least as high as any previous survey or poll of Western Australian editors and is considered sufficient to reasonably infer that the responses may reflect the views of the membership as a whole.
A review and analysis of the results is available here.
Survey results extracted as PDF from SurveyMonkey are available here.
A summary of comments to questions that included a comments box are here (some comments are truncated in the results PDF).
Thank you to everyone who took part. Information from this survey will be used to provide a better member experience for editors in Western Australia.
Editors WA President