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Is An Editor Still An Editor?

Has the editor’s role changed with technology? Do editors still have the same job to do?AnEditor

Technology has certainly changed some of the ways editors do their work and the types of documents they edit, but not the reason for editing. An editor’s goal is still the same: to improve communication.

Depending on the industry and media, there are different kinds of editors, specifically technical editors, book editors, web content editors, academic editors, and medical and scientific editors. This is about those editors who refine the written word, rather than those who work with film, video, or sound.

Editors used to be just as important as writers. Without them, paragraphs didn’t make sense and sentences had errors in them. If you doubted an editor’s work, you could ask to see the text marked up with red revision marks and comments.

Today, editors are often invisible—working silently on the sidelines. They’re not always responsible for awkward phrases or misspellings. Instead, those in an editorial role use specific tools and systems to publish content and make sure it moves along a particular course. They can also be responsible for making sure it is repurposed correctly for different platforms and devices. Some editors get involved in project management, usability testing, and the compilation of style guides.

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Some Favorite Tech Comm Subjects and Where You Can Read About Them

 

book-reviewsWhether you want to learn something new, or want to learn something more, here is a list of recommended reading that can help you write useful content.

Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley

How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times by Roy Peter Clark

Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing by Mignon Fogarty (various books, app, podcasts)

Nicely Said: Writing for the Web with Style and Purpose by Nicole Fenton, Kate Kiefer Lee

Content Strategy for the Web, Second Edition by Kristina Halvorson, Melissa Rach

Oxford Guide to Plain English, Fourth Edition by Martin Cutts

Hemingway App – Makes your writing bold and clear (desktop, mobile versions)

Adobe RoboHelp HTML 11 Essentials

Standards for Online Communication

An Introduction to SmartDocs

Content Everywhere: Strategy and Structure for Future-Ready Content

If you have any other suggestions, please send email to blog@stc-psc.org.

When Is Writing Not Enough?

Written by Michael Benavidez

Michael

I’ve participated in a wide variety of technical writing courses, seminars, and presentations as a way to break into the industry. The speakers I’ve heard come from diverse backgrounds and experiences, but one common subject is that of change. Technical writer jobs today are not the same as they were ten or even five years ago. New skills are needed.

One of the technical writing instructors in my certificate program, a man who had worked on projects at companies such as Microsoft and Disney, talked about the importance of adding one or more skills to our writing credentials. He had been a technical writer and editor for many years, but decided to learn programming after realizing his skills alone wouldn’t be enough as the work evolved.

There can be varying skills technical writers need to have in order to perform their job, depending on the industry. Two employers might list very different qualifications for similar positions.

While pursuing my technical writing certificate, I’ve started to learn how to code. I don’t expect to become a programmer any time soon, but I think this skill will help me speak the language and write more accurate documentation.

Unquestionably, becoming familiar with different areas of technical writing is as important as having writing skills.