It is plain that many people who write about journalism, and some who have corporate authority over it, have no more idea of what constitutes editing than they do of Mycenaean Linear B. So I thought I would demonstrate a few of the basics of micro-editing and macro-editing for you.

The specimen text is not a journalistic article, but an announcement that appeared years ago on the website of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland. As such, it presents a fair example of what you get when unedited, or inadequately edited, material is published. I will give you the original text to inspect, following it with each segment of the original accompanied by comments between double virgules.

 

The New ASSISTING BISHOP has arrived!!

    Our new Assisting Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Donald P. Hart and his wife Elizabeth have arrived. Bishop Hart joins us after serving in several climatic extremes. He served in Alaska as Priest-in-charge, Diocesan staff and Rector, then moved to warmer climes as Bishop of Hawaii from 1986-94. He has also served in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Connecticut. The move to Maryland puts the Hart’s within a close commuting distance to their children and granddaughter in Washington, D.C.


    Bishop Hart enjoys the prospect of another assistant bishop position “because it lives out the hart of all ministry, which I believe rests in dynamic partnership between ourselves and the Lord, between all of us, lay and ordained.” He began Diocesan duties on October 15th and will begin visitations in the near future.


    Please welcome the Hart’s into our Diocesan family.

 

//All right, here we go.//

The New ASSISTING BISHOP has arrived!!

//Take out both the exclamation points. If what you have to say is not exciting, you cannot make it so with punctuation. Note also that the headline is neither upstyle (words capitalized as in a book title) or downstyle (first word and proper nouns capitalized, as in a sentence). The all-caps noun phrase is intrusive and unnecessary.//


    Our new Assisting Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Donald P. Hart and his wife Elizabeth have arrived. Bishop Hart joins us after serving in several climatic extremes. He served in Alaska as Priest-in-charge, Diocesan staff and Rector, then moved to warmer climes as Bishop of Hawaii from 1986-94. He has also served in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Connecticut. The move to Maryland puts the Hart’s within a close commuting distance to their children and granddaughter in Washington, D.C.

//Micro-editing: American English has been moving for more than a century to reduce capitalization. Lowercase assisting bishop, priest in charge, rector, and diocesan, the last an adjective and not a noun, would be fine. You probably want to write his wife, Elizabeth, with the commas, to avoid suggesting that he goes in for plural marriage. He was surely on diocesan staff or a member of diocesan staff, not the diocesan staff itself (a large pole?).  From 1986 to 1994 is preferable. From 1986-94 suggests that another period of paired years is to follow. They are the Harts; making nouns plural with an apostrophe is a mark of unskilled writing. They are within commuting distance, commuting already suggesting close, of, not to, their children and grandchildren.

Macro-editing: Several climatic extremes and warmer climes pretentious and therefore unnecessary; most people, I think, are aware that Hawaii tends to be warmer than Alaska. That has also served omits the how he served, which we are about to return to.//


    Bishop Hart enjoys the prospect of another assistant bishop position “because it lives out the hart of all ministry, which I believe rests in dynamic partnership between ourselves and the Lord, between all of us, lay and ordained.” He began Diocesan duties on October 15th and will begin visitations in the near future.

//Micro-editing:Hart for heart is an obvious typo in the boilerplate quote. Lowercase diocesan. You may or may not abbreviate October, according to your house style, but 15 rather than 15th suffices.

Macro-editing: Another assisting bishop position? We might assume that since the first paragraph appears to be chronological, that after his retirement as bishop of Hawaii, Bishop Hart served as an assisting bishop in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Connecticut, but we don't know that, and editors hate to guess. I don't know just what diocesan duties he has already assumed, and the writer does not tell me. There's a small hole in the account. //


    Please welcome the Hart’s into our Diocesan family.

//Micro-editing: Harts again, and diocesan.//

 

I sent a marked-up text to the canon to the ordinary, the announcement was removed from the website, and I got no reply. A final lesson about editing: Don't expect gratitude.