Continuing Education for Editors
June 24, 1999
Kathi George is somewhat of a copyediting course junkie. While she hasn't taken every editing and publishing course available, Kathi, a UC San Diego Extension instructor and author of "Workshops for Copy Editors" (see www.copyeditor.com), seems to know at least something about every course.
For example, Stanford's pricey publishing course was "intense, exhausting...[and] the 14 best days of [her] life." The University of Virginia's new media-focused program is a great place to learn about cutting-edge technologies. The University of Denver has the best program for entry level editors, and Vassar offers an unbeatable weeklong children's book editing course. She highly recommends the University of Chicago's art publishing program, and if you feel like traveling, Canada's subsidized publishing programs provide some of the best classes. UC Berkeley Extension, Media Alliance, and editcetera offer high quality, reasonably priced courses closer to home.
Why take an editing course? The most obvious reason is to learn new skills and improve existing ones. Kathi also stressed the less obvious advantages of coursework. Most of us work alone, so contact with peers is important. Courses also give a sense of validation, allow for "cross-fertilization," and are a great place to make "editing buddies." You can also meet mentors and experts. It looks great on a résumé, and is considered a business expense. And it can get you a job: Kathi got three jobs through contacts she made at the Stanford program, one job through the Chicago program. For a copy of Kathi's Guide to Editing and Publishing Courses, 1999, call her at 858/581-0475. She'd also love to hear about your experience, if any, with online courses.
Elianne Obadia spoke about a different approach to continuing education: participating in an editors' group. An editors' group provides an informal setting in which otherwise isolated editing professionals can meet, mingle, and share war stories.
Elianne cofounded the Marin Editors' Group, four and a half years ago with a friend she'd met in an Editcetera course. Meetings begin with a five-minute "catch-up" during which participants share what happened during the month, what projects they' re working on, and any issues they may be dealing with in their work. Then members share leads, resources, and the latest technology. Also on the agenda: hot topics like setting rates, dealing with difficult clients, drafting contracts, and juggling multiple projects; group editing exercises; a short break with munchies; and plenty of jokes, quotes, quips, and other entertainment.
"Humor is the most important element to bring to the work," Elianne said.