5 things I learned at ACES 2015

ACES logo1. Kory Stamper reading Old English and Middle English was amazing.

It’s not every day that we get to hear the evolution of language and usage. Merriam-Webster’s Kory Stamper gave a fantastic session called “English and How it Got This Way: A Brief History.” It’s one thing to read about how language changes, but it’s another thing entirely to actually hear it.

2. Twitter can turn you into a wizard (well, almost).

Unless you have Hermione Granger’s Time-Turner, you can’t be at multiple sessions at once. This is a shame, because there were so many excellent sessions competing against each other this year. One way to navigate around this problem was to follow the #ACES2015 hashtag on Twitter. It wasn’t a perfect solution, but hey, it allowed a lot of us to listen in on what was going on across the conference.

3. We need more inclusive language.

Many of the sessions on the last day of the conference focused on sensitive and accurate language for folks from traditionally vulnerable populations. These sessions focused on people-first language, using style guides from advocacy journalist groups and having diversity in the newsroom. What I took away: getting these issues and terminology isn’t merely about fairness, it’s about accuracy. Yes, it can be tricky to learn, but the resources are out there.

4. Our value hasn’t changed, but our tools have.

Today’s editing tools aren’t like those of the past. We use computers, search engines, social media, and other technology to seek out and verify information and interact with our audiences. Mila Sanina and Rossilynne Skena Culgan did a great job talking about social media best practices in their session.
What hasn’t changed is the need for editors. We still need editors who are smart, thoughtful, and dedicated making copy the best it can possibly be.

5. ACES members are hardcore.

Whether we’re spelling difficult words, honing our social media game, or hanging out at the bar swapping grammar horror stories, one thing is clear: ACES members strive for excellence in all things they do.
Rhiannon Root is an editor, reporter, and member of the American Copy Editors Society (ACES). Since ACES 2015 wrapped up last week, we invited her to share some of her thoughts from the conference. You can catch her on Twitter @rhiannonroot.


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