When Writers In Sandals meets from 10:30 a.m. to noon March 15 at the Destin Library, Rick Thomason, a former Log and Sun publisher, will be the guest speaker.
“I’m going to be talking about editing, hiring an editor, promoting work through social media and blogging,” Thomason told The Log. “Of course, I’ll also try to answer any questions they may have. I find the Q&A is usually the most interesting and the most helpful part of many presentations.”
Thomason’s most important tip about editing is simple.
“Never, ever self edit immediately after you’ve written something,” he said. “Write something else or do another activity before going back to editing.”
Thomason, with 33 years of newspaper experience as a reporter, editor and publisher of both weekly and daily newspapers, including The Destin Log and Walton Sun, has won numerous awards for writing and editing.
“I was also recognized for leadership in crisis after Hurricane Ivan,” he said. “My newsroom at the Register Citizen in Torrington, Conn., won the Associated Press Managing Editors first Innovator of the Year Award.”
Currently, Thomason owns OnPointMessage, a writing/editing/consulting company, and Newsroom Tune Up, newsroom/newspaper training/analysis/consulting. Recently, he presented at both the Independent Newspaper Group annual meeting and the Iowa Press Association Annual Convention.
Thomason believes too many people think the old rules for grammar just don’t matter anymore.
“I think grammar use is much looser than even five years ago,” he said. “In my opinion, texting and instant messaging have killed the younger generation's ability to write ... if they ever even had that ability, and I'm not so sure they did.”
As Thomason read a story on the website of his newsroom in Connecticut, he was horrified.
“The reporting was quite good, but the editing, if there was any at all, was atrocious. It should have been a great story. Instead, it insulted every reader with garbled sentences, run-on sentences, puzzling paragraph breaks and absolutely no flow at all.
“There's a ‘good enough’ attitude that is killing excellence.”