Wednesday, February 07, 2007

faking the news

as many of you know, i work as an editor for the UW department of psychiatry. as the only editor in my department, i wear many different caps. one day i'm the copyeditor and the next day i'm rewriting an entire manuscript. in the morning i may find myself navigating the obscure nuances of the question mark and then return from lunch early to teach exasperated faculty to use endnote, the handy reference manager that makes citations a breeze. but apparently there wasn't quite enough variety to my day.

earlier this week i received a phone call. "we've found something for you to do during your down-time."


"we'd like you to create a newletter."


after meeting separately with four MIRECC heads of state, i determined that they actually want me to develop three or four newsletters, each with a different audience and slightly different content. and get this: they envision me toting a tape recorder to work so i can interview the top brass for the lead stories. that's right, the newest incarnation of andrew the editor will be as reporter, writer, and designer. yikes! i'm not sure what i think of this; several adjectives have crossed my mind--interesting, cumbersome, challenging, harrowing--but the overwhelming thought is something like "what the crap do i know about newsletters?"

anyway, if you have any newsletter advice, feel free to leave me a comment.


Beth said...

I think it will be fun for you. Think of it as a glorified blog, a blog with a guaranteed readership, a blog with predetermined subject matter to help you stay on track.(okay that last part's not as fun, but still).

Emily said...

my first thought was, "oh MAN, you're in trouble." i'm afraid "fun" is not the word i would use. :) but then, i'm used to working on (only) one newsletter for a half-baked nonprofit organization that doesn't know from one month to the next what it's doing, and which has no money to spend on anything, including people who know how to format newsletters.

my only real advice would be: remember that everything will go wrong at the last minute, especially formatting.

however, you may get a lot of those "ahhh, that is exactly the right sentence" moments... more so than in creative writing.

okay, i'm done. :)

andrew said...

beth and emily, thanks for the encouragement and tips.

the good news is that as an organization, we know what we're doing. and we have all kinds of facts to share with the public. unfortunately, it's still rather unclear who will decide which facts we want to highlight or what subject matter i am to pursue.

and, emily, despite your foreboding empathy, i think i might be able to turn most of your comment into a reason for optimism--once i have the design straight in my head, we have a graphic artist who will take it (and all the formatting nonsense) from there! but still, i feel rather uncertain about all of this 'glorified blogging.' i'm nearly finished with the r&d phase (i.e., reading other alzheimer's disease newsletters), and i'm not exactly looking forward to creating my own content....

Your Friendly Neighborhood Friendly Neighbor said...

How is the project going so far?

andrew said...

well, on the day you asked me, it wasn't really going anywhere. i've been rather busy editing some grants lately.

however, the editing deluge slowed to a trickle today, so i was able to read some other research newsletters and talk with some of the coordinators regarding their vision for this newsy dream. we'll see. at the moment i fear that my greatest obstacle will be learning enough about my department; if i were to pen some articles today, they'd be rather random.

thanks for asking!