The Art and Science of Editing

Watch and listen to the original one-hour Webinar in its entirety. This Webinar recording features the full presentation led by Poynter faculty and visiting faculty including Q&A from the audience and resources from the presenter.

Course Overview

The Art and Science of Editing
Originally Broadcast On:
January 01, 1970
Time Estimate:
One hour for the main presentation and questions. Sometimes presenters stay longer to answer additional questions from participants.

Poynter Prepared members can save 20-25% on this course and all Poynter training. Learn more and become a member today. This webinar is $11.95 for members of ACES: The Society for Editing. Watch your member email to get details about the discount.

Watching as a group in a conference room or classroom? Help keep our Webinar costs low by selecting the appropriate price point. NOTE: This purchase gives you one computer access into the live and recorded presentation.

About Webinars

In this virtual classroom, participants can join in a seminar led by Poynter faculty and visiting faculty. This screencast includes live audio and a slideshow presentation in which participants can post questions and respond to poll questions posed by the host.

Editing is fraught with peril. After all, by definition your job is to point out imperfections in something created through a very personal process, writing. The edit can be painful for writers and editors, but there are ways to make it a more collaborative, and less combative, activity.

This webinar will help you better understand that editing does not always equal changing, and that you need to take into account the writer as well as your readers.

What Will I Learn:
  • The Hippocratic Oath of editing
  • The differences between “changing” and “editing”
  • How to examine proposed edits to see whether they have improved the copy, and how
  • How to explain your changes in noncombative (and nondefensive) terms
  • When to hold ’em and when to fold ’em (no bluffing allowed)
  • The empathy of editing
Who Should Take this Course:

This webinar is for writers and editors who want to learn to identify when you need to edit something, when you don’t and how to explain your changes to others.

Course Instructor:

Merrill Perlman

Merrill Perlman is a consultant who works with news organizations, private companies and journalism organizations, specializing in editing and the English language. She spent 25 years at The New York Times in jobs ranging from copy editor to director of copy desks, in charge of all 150-plus copy editors at The Times. She is an adjunct assistant professor at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and writes the Language Corner column for the Columbia Journalism Review. Merrill is a recipient of the Glamann Award from the American Copy Editors Society. She was a reporter for four years before becoming an editor.

Training Partner:

ACES: The Society for Editing

ACES: The Society for Editing is a nonprofit education and membership organization working toward the advancement of copy editors. Its aim is to provide solutions to editing problems, training and a place to discuss common issues.

The organization is an international members’ alliance of editors working at newspapers, magazines, websites, traditional media outlets and Fortune 500 companies, as well as freelance editors, students and professors. It is an organization built on the advocacy of editing as a craft vital to clear writing and reader advocacy.

Technical Requirements:

This Webinar contains audio. Please adjust your headphones or speakers.
We strongly suggest viewing our Webinars with a wired connection.

  • Flash Player - Adobe® Flash® Player 10.1 or higher
  • Browsers - Mozilla Firefox 2 or higher; Safari 2 or higher; Google Chrome (any version)
    Windows users can also use Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 or higher
  • Bandwidth - 256Kbps (512Kbps recommended)

Some networks, especially those that use a proxy server, may encounter difficulty connecting to our Webinar software. If this is your first Poynter NewsU Webinar, please test your connection.

Questions? Read our Webinar FAQ or contact us at