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Dallin Turner ELANG 410R Stewardship Essay Credit Where Credit Is Due When I write a story for a newspaper, I want what I wrote to appear in print the

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next day. Most of the time, this is what happens. But occasionally, I will see a creative

Comment [1]: Maybe not  the  best  phrase?  It   sounds  as  if  you  are  torn  between  wanting  and   not  caring  if  they  print  what  you  wrote.    

lead that I worked hard on be completely cut for no rhyme or reason. When I edit, I see

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and understand the reason, but sometimes forget what it feels like to be the writer and not

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have my words be published. Although I want to protect the reputation of the authors and

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allow their voices to be heard, as an editor, I also need to protect the reputation of my

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publication and not allow substandard material to be printed. Ultimately, I think editors

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should allow authors to stand by their bylines, i.e., strive to maintain the integrity of the author’s work while still maintaining the reputation of the publication. In a magazine (or newspaper, book, etc.) the author gets the byline and the credit. Although editors’ names also appear in magazines, they are often buried or hidden, rarely associating them with a particular article. Ultimately, the prominent name featured at the beginning of each article is the author’s. When people read the article, they naturally

Deleted: , Deleted: b Deleted: see

Goodrum 5/23/11 9:52 AM Comment [2]: This is  a  little  bit  confusing  for   me,  and  I  had  to  read  it  several  times  to   understand  it.  

Goodrum 5/23/11 9:52 AM Comment [3]: You talk  about  honesty  later.   Can  we  incorporate  that  into  your  thesis?  

Goodrum 5/23/11 9:39 AM Formatted: Font:Not Bold Goodrum 5/23/11 9:44 AM Deleted: But

assume that the author wrote the entire thing with very little (if any) help. Now, a reasonable person knows that editors have looked over the article and fixed spelling and grammar, but they probably don’t assume that editors have vastly altered or revised the article. They probably think that the finished article in the magazine is exactly what the author intended. I think one of our roles as editors is to do just that, and keep what the author originally intended.

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Goodrum 5/23/11 9:45 AM Deleted: and that is what

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I believe it is more than the role, but even the obligation of an editor to help authors say what they want to say in the best possible way. If an editor revises an article too much, then that damages the reputation of an author because the finished product is not the author’s at all, but the editor’s. I believe that if the author gets the byline at the end, then at least ninety percent of the material should be originally and exclusively from the author. On the other hand, too little editing can also harm an author’s reputation. Even

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the most eloquent and original thoughts lose credibility when they are filled with mistakes and typos. But I’m not too worried about that side of editing. Instead, I want to focus on the dangers of over-editing to the extent of changing the author’s voice and intentions. If an editor is given an article that dramatically needs a substantive edit to improve clarity and logic, then I suggest the editor refrain from rewriting the whole piece. Rather, the editor should explain to the author where the article becomes unclear and illogical and make suggestions on how to improve it, leaving the work of rewriting up to the original writer. That way, the magazine can put the author’s name on the byline with confidence, knowing the author can take full credit for the actual writing of the article. But what is an editor to do if the author won’t rewrite the article? If an author is unable or unwilling to make needed revisions to an article, then some editors may be tempted to make the revisions themselves. They want to use the article and they want to protect the reputation of the magazine, but in order to accomplish these goals, they have to do a lot of rewriting themselves. While this may be beneficial to the magazine and author in the short run, I believe this practice to be very detrimental in the long run. If an author gets credit for something he didn’t write, then he will receive a

Goodrum 5/23/11 9:48 AM Deleted: term

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falsely inflated reputation. What would happen if another magazine decided they really liked his work and asked him to write something for them, only to find it didn’t match the same quality of his earlier work? Or what would happen to the first magazine and editor if the author submitted another poorly written piece and expected the editor to make all the necessary revisions? I don’t think this is an honest practice. Everyone ends up losing. I am a firm believer in the value of honest, hard work. In his book, Standing for Something, President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “The Lord told Adam that in the sweat of his face should he eat his bread all the days of his life. It is important that we qualify ourselves to be self-reliant. … This is important. It is wholesome. It is right and proper” (pg. 28). I think it is the role of an editor to help authors improve, but not to do the work for them. If an author wants to become great, he has to put forth the effort himself. As Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said: The heights by great men reached and kept Were not attained by sudden flight, But they, while their companions slept, Were toiling upward in the night.1 I think an editor who does major rewriting robs the author of the value of hard work. The author needs to be able to honestly and proudly stand by his work that may have had help and guidance, but is not the result of someone else’s genius. While I do believe that editors should work hard as well, I don’t think they should do all the work for the author. So, what is an editor to do if the author won’t rewrite the article? Or what if the author asks the editor to drastically revise the paper himself? I may sound harsh in this, but I say throw the article out. If an author has submitted an article that does not meet a

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magazine’s standards, and if the author will not make the necessary revisions, then that article should not be published. It is not the editor’s job to bring every article he sees up to his magazine’s standards. Therefore, in my opinion, unless the editor gets a co-byline with the author, then he should not spend so much time making drastic revisions and rewrites. Naturally, though, there are a few exceptions to this. If the author is extremely important and busy (like the president or the prophet) and has a close relationship with the author, then I think an exception can be made to this rule. But I think these exceptions should be very few. As a writer, I am upset when I see a published story with my byline but not my voice. As an editor, I would be equally upset to see a published story with my voice but not my byline. To reconcile these problems, I suggest giving credit where credit is due and allowing authors to stand by their bylines. Editors should allow the author’s voice to be heard in the best possible way, and when drastic revisions are necessary, they should be made by the author under the editor’s guidance. In the fast-paced world of newspapers, this is not always possible; but in the magazine world, I think that editors can afford the time to allow the authors to rewrite their articles. This way, the editor fulfills his responsibility of preserving the author’s and magazine’s reputation, and the author can honestly and proudly stand by his work.                                                                                                               1  As  quoted  in  Standing  for  Something  by  Gordon  B.  Hinckley  on  page  32.  

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Track Changes Document  

Shows edits I made to a document.

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