Position: Executive Committee member (two-year term)
Job title: Copy editor
At: The Vanguard Group, Malvern, Pa.
Job description: John edits communications that Vanguard produces for people in employer-sponsored retirement plans from workbooks, video scripts, and brochures to e-mails and letters.
How has the nominee contributed to ACES?
John has helped assemble and present the session “The Power of Proofreading” at the last three national conferences. He also was a member of the host committee for the Philadelphia conference in 2010.
What makes the nominee the best candidate for this position?
He has worked both in newspapers (25 years, mostly at The Charlotte Observer and The Philadelphia Inquirer) and the corporate world (five years at Vanguard). As newspapers increasingly shed editors, ACES needs increasingly to reach out to corporate communicators, whether they come from the journalism world or not. John’s background will help him reach out to both groups as well as those who came from one and now are in the other.
If elected, what does the nominee envision for ACES during his or her tenure?
ACES should find ways to reach out to corporate communications people. Except for people who once worked in newspapers or who graduated from the few J-schools ACES is aligned with, we have had little representation from that vast array of people.
This year, for the first time, none of the board candidates is currently working in newspapers or magazines, and the new board will have a majority from outside of newsrooms. How can ACES keep its credibility as a journalistic organization as well as its increasingly important role as a resource and advocate for copy editors who do not work in news? Indeed, should it?
Every CEO is a media star and every corporation has a blog and a Twitter feed. Companies are communicating, and they need communicators. As newspapers shed copy editors, the ACES base is shifting from newsrooms and classrooms toward conference rooms. True, the credibility of ACES is rooted in its J-school professors and the editors from high-powered publications. Nevertheless, what our corporate counterparts might call “a shift in the employment paradigm” is an opportunity for ACES. As editors find refuge in the 9-to-5 world, we’ll need skills that news doesn’t demand, such as writing and editing scripts and PowerPoint presentations. ACES may need corporate communications executives and public-speaking experts—and we may even draw perilously close to “marketing.” But blending digital-age communications techniques with traditional newsroom values can help ACES members become better editors. And editors with broader skill sets will be more employable, which we don’t take for granted anymore.