Talk about a high pressure job. Brian Carroll makes print editing look like a walk in the park compared to online editing. I got a feeling that he wrote this chapter just to turn me away from that career…
But in all seriousness, it sounds like a good online editor must be a jack-of-all-trades. A renaissance man, if you will. They have to have not only the organization and time management skills of a type A person, but also the creativity and flexibility of a type B person.
How can one person be both?? An online editor has to be.
To describe an online editor’s job in one word, I would choose consistency. Not only in writing style and skill, but also in aesthetics and technical details, the editor must ensure flow and continuity.
This incorporates some of the things we have learned about in class:
The last link, for navigation, includes some great examples of clean, easy to navigate websites and is definitely worth a look.
The responsibilities listed above are just a few that fall under the umbrella of “checking copy,” a term used for when an online editor thoroughly reviews everything about the actual writing- the grammar, the spelling, the flow, the facts, the ethos, the logos, the pathos, etc. But that’s just the tip of the iceburg. An online editor must also be prepared to write multimedia, which is where the creative side comes in. They must be able to produce logical, pleasing, well designed multimedia to their audience. This includes video, photos, interactive maps, games, and quizzes, and the list goes on.
But that’s not all. The online editor must be able to actually investigate what they are covering. This doesn’t mean wikipedia that jazz. This actually means go Sherlock Holmes on your business to get the info you need.
Maybe not quite the online editor yet…
Doing all of this at once seems next to impossible. But thank the lucky stars for Content Management Systems. What’s that?
Content Management Systems are basically systems that organize data to be published on the web in an especially efficient manner. As Brian Carroll argues, “A good CMS can do many of the functions of print editors, freeing up human resources for the more important tasks of fact-checking and copyediting” (Carroll 131).
An online editor must not only be familiar with all of the above practices, but efficient. They must not just know how to use these systems, they must perfect them.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I will never be an online editor.