ACES 2012: Editing at a hub

I’ll be part of a panel discussion on editing at hubs at the national ACES conference this afternoon (4-13-2012). Here is the description from the ACES program:

Editing at a Hub
Todd Kistler, Thom Wright, Los Angeles News Group; Pam Nelson, McClatchy Newspapers
As the concept of editing hubs spreads, more copy editors find themselves in this work situation. Three hub editors talk about setup and workflow, adaptations they’ve needed to make, and how they’ve solved problems that have arisen, plus answer questions from the audience.

Here are the main points that I hope to get across at the session:

Before the hub:

Publications should be sure that they understand what will be lost or gained. Most rank-and-file copy editors will have no power over this decision, but they can play a role in the discussion and perhaps affect the outcome.

Keys to success at a publishing center:

*Communicate early and often. Editors of the client publications should be available to the hub either by phone or instant messaging. Email should be used for non-deadline issues, for longer messages that need to go to many people and for general policy information. The hub should know precisely who is in charge of the content, and the client editors should know who is doing which jobs at the hub. Hub editors should promptly reply to email or messages. A hotline phone should always be answered.

*Standardize practices and styles as much as possible. Give hub editors basic workflow and expectations that can apply no matter which client publication they are working on.

*Provide plenty of copies of the client publications before the hub gets up and running and afterward. Everyone should get to know the client publications and should get to see the finished product.

*Provide reliable maps of the client publications’ home areas. Editors at the client publications can make lists of troublesome place names (also, people names).

*Share design and copy style guides (align them as much as possible).

*Give hub editors a chance to visit the client papers’ newsrooms and coverage area. Editors from client publications can give hub editors short guides to what’s important. Client publication editors should visit the hub as soon as possible and visit more than once.

If you are a hub editor:

*Get your work habits in order. Make checklists or do whatever tricks you can to be sure you perform the duties you’ve been given.

*Set your standards. Spend more time on the things that are most important.

*Find shortcuts.

*Help one another. Be aware of the workflow in your team and pitch in when you know someone else needs help.

*Train, train, train. Have a deep bench so people can step in for others without confusion. Share knowledge gained.

*Get to know the client publications and the coverage areas.

*Use social media to connect. Follow the editors whose work you’re editing.

*Build teams within the hub so that people have ownership.

*Have a central site for sharing information, including schedules, style guides and policies.