Editors as political activists: professional editing in a ‘post-truth’ age of ‘alternative facts’


5:45pm, Wednesday 31 January 2018
Fergeson Room, 1st floor, National Library of Australia, Parkes Place
Light refreshments before and after; all welcome

Linda Nix examines editing practice in the political context of ‘post-truth’ and ‘alternative facts’.

Using examples, she demonstrates that professional editing is inherently political in its insistence on accuracy, clarity and logical flow; in the practice of author queries; in its commitment to conveying, rather than obsfuscating, meaning; and in using evidence-based knowledge drawn from the practical experience of experts. She looks at what it means to be a professional, and specifically to be a professional editor when asking questions, insisting on facts and drawing on expertise are no longer considered neutral or objective practices – and when our livelihoods might depend on not asking questions or at least asking the right kind of questions. She discusses editorial codes of ethics and argues that in different contexts, the role of the editor takes on a greater or lesser political role, and our choice of the contexts in which we work is also, to some extent, a political statement.

Please note: This is a revised and updated version of the talk presented at the 2017 IPEd conference.

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