CoJMC students hits Vegas for ACES convention
Editor’s note: The week before spring break, CoJMC student Whitney Carlson went to Las Vegas, Nev., for a “totally different, nerdy reason” (her words): A copy editors conference. In the following report Carlson explains all that unfolded.
The American Copy Editors Society (ACES) held its national conference in Las Vegas this year. I attended with four other students from the University of Nebraska- Lincoln. While there, we stayed at Planet Hollywood. We explored Las Vegas, had some fun and learned quite a bit about editing.
The conference had a variety of ways to keep up with and learn more about editing. Each day was packed with 25 session choices, but attendees could only choose five or six to join.
On editing in general, topics included AP style, the differences between British and American English and decoding academic and governmental writing. A few sessions covered respectful language, discussing problematic language when writing about women and people with disabilities.
A big focus this year was digital. These sessions covered issues like linking and attribution, search engine optimization and online content quality. Social media had an emphasis as well, with sessions on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.
Throughout the different sessions, consistent themes appeared:
• Readable writing is important to your audience.
• Accuracy and consistency are important.
• Words are powerful.
Most ACES members are professionals because few student chapters exist. As students, our small numbers were advantageous. It made us stand out. We had an opportunity to meet people, make connections and discuss career knowledge.
The professionals are passionate about editing as a career and craft. They encourage young people to be informed and stay connected in the editing world.
Each year, the ACES Education Fund gives about $6,500 to students in the editing field. They raise the money in a variety of ways, like a silent auction and donations. The conference also started with a Spelling Bee on Wednesday night. Spellers paid to participate, and all the money went into the education fund.
Their fundraising for future editors is a testament to their passion. At this year’s conference, the ACES members raised more than $13,000 for the education fund.
Editors are usually pictured as high-school English teachers with red pens or people working in the newspaper business. ACES, however, is full of members from all kinds of businesses. I met people who work at Wells Fargo, Costco, Travel Portland, ESPN, Poynter, LinkedIn, Merriam-Webster and the San Diego Zoo.
Though they work at an assortment of companies, the editors share a love of words, grammar and accuracy. Whether they work at ModCloth or The New York Times, all editors strive to achieve clarity and consistency with their work. Some of them proofread pamphlets; others create web pages. Even more edit the news we consume on a daily basis.
At the conference, I learned about the importance of editors: Wherever words are meant to be read, editors will always be needed.