Wednesday, November 24, 2010

If I knew then what I know now

This morning as I headed into school, I was talking to my mom about the urban legend assignment.

I told her about finding the increase in birth rates after the New York blackout in 1964 was not true, and the birth rate was consistent was five years worth during the same time frame.

Many scholars theorised that without television, people choose to entertain themselves in other ways.

She found it hard to believe because it was something she knew to be true, so dinner tonight will be interesting as I show her the numbers.

This experience reminded me of high school when my grade 11 history teacher asked why there was a population explosion... So after a few moments of no one saying a word, I put my hand up and said "Canadian winters are cold and people found ways to keep themselves warm." I was kick out of class for the day and my dad got the call from the teacher. I didn't get into trouble from my dad but was told never to do something like that in class again.

This just goes to show you get all the information before you speak or write.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My new favorite entertainment website: Wikipedia

So I was reading the rules on editing pages on wikipedia, and I decided to read some of the past edits on my high school College Jeanne Sauve.

"Since opening its doors in 1990, CJS Students have used the school to provide many wandering dogs with temporary relief from the harsh Winnipeg winters.

Collège Jeanne-Sauvé has a history of social involvement the envy of many larger schools in the area. Almost since the school's inception, it has had a Social Justice Committee, led by students working tirelessly to educate students and others in the community on important social issues in the area and internationally as well as taking a large role in attempting to fix these problems. This committee was key in gaining recognition for the school as an UNESCO associated school in 2005."

This was removed On September 3, 2010.

I highly suggest reading the past edits of any article on wikipedia, if not for education, just for the giggles.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Writing under privilege

Imagine your first day at a new job. You were hired to write a manual for a software application. You go in and expect to get a walkthrough of the software as the first item of business, but instead given a pile of readings including the Manitoba Evidence Act, the Regional Health Authorities Act, the Personal Health Information Act, and the Field Guide to Understanding Human Error by Sidney Dekker. For the first few days, all you do is read everything until it becomes clear that there will be a point where everything you read and everything you write becomes privilege.

Writing under privilege is more about proper wordsmithing and understanding the nature of the environment you are working in. You quickly learn to recognize the line between privileged and public information, no matter how the fine the line actually is.

By the end of the experience, my co-op partner and I will have completed two manuals, one for the software application and another resource guide for Patient Safety. However, we cannot not use either item for our portfolios since most of our work is protected by privilege.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Think of a headline, a 56 pt bold headline

I will admit that headline writing is a special gift that someone have, and sadly, I am not one of them.

When I saw the headline "Think of a headline, a 56 pt bold headline," I honestly thought this something I could easily do. Throughout my education career, I would spent countless hours working on a paper or with little to no thought about the title or headline. Sometimes they came easily:
The poisoned bread: the effects on food poisioning on the bubonic plague OR
Medical mummification: From the theatre to the trash can

But honestly, more often than not, my titles were the basic topics either assignment to me:
The economic uses of rye, Secale cereale OR
The medicinal uses of ergot, Claviceps purpurea

The Canadian Press Stylebook will probably become my most useful tool for writing headlines and titles in my future work, but I will still have have to live with the shame of having some very poor titles in my past work.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Editing in real life

Every week, I struggle to come up with an idea about what to write about it my blog, and this week my inspiration actually came from a lady who I helped in the store where I work.

Imagine your a former English teacher, and you see signs at restaurants or at stores that have spelling and grammar mistakes. What do you do?

Well, this woman has actually gone into those restaurants and stores to talk to management to get them corrected.

The example she gave was going to a bulk food store and seeing a couple of signs with the work "kernal." On one sign she saw that an attempt was made to correct it, with the "a" scratched out and replaced with an "e," while on another it was left incorrect. She had a conversation with the management about the error to try to get it corrected.

Would you have the courage to do the same thing?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Forget numbers, try Nadsat

Yes, numbers can be a real challenge when it comes to editing, but what if you were editing a novel or short story in a strange language or unusual slang.

Just take a moment to think of how you would react, if you were handed a manuscript that is mostly filled with typos and errors (I mean so full of typos and errors that it is barely understandable). That is what happened with Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes. The main character undergoes a medical treatment to improve his mental abilities, and as he improves, so does the writing of the novel.

Or what if the author come up with his own slang. How would know that "horrorshow" means good? Imagine how the editor for Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange felt the first time he or she read the manuscript.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Other jobs that are similar to editing

After our discussion in class last week, I spent some time think about other jobs that have an editing component:

1. Buyers for stores

Buyers have to make sure that merchandise are appropriate for the individuals frequenting the store and likely to buy items. A recent example is from Zellers where children's clothing was pulled off the shelf after it was found they contained sexist and vulgar comments.

2. Pharmacists

Pharmacists can prevent the wrong medication from being given to a patient. Some treatment packages can contain medications that a patient has an allergy or sensitivity to, when it occurs, pharmacists will do all they can to contact the physician to make changes to the prescription.

3. Elections staff

The election staff have to make sure the laws are followed and the people are voting in the right polling stations. They must treat all members of the public justly and fairly and react to any concerns at the polling stations.