Editors apply principles of linguistics, composition, and design as they work with authors to optimize communication. Successful editing students can demonstrate to potential employers that they have practical editing experience backed by solid understanding of linguistic, rhetorical, and design principles.
Why Study Editing
Editing students typically pursue careers in book, journal, and magazine publishing, but they can apply editing skills in most other professional settings. All professions rely on communicating information. Students may effectively combine the editing minor with any major on campus to enhance their marketability as editors, publishers, content creators, or professionals in other careers involving academic research and publishing.
Goals of the Editing Program
Students are expected to do the following:
- Identify the principles of linguistic form, meaning, and context governing effective editing decisions.
- Improve manuscripts through effective copyediting and substantive editing methods.
- Use standard editing/publishing software tools.
- Acquire, edit, and publish articles, stories, books, webpages, or other communication, in a manner consistent with approved publishing practices and ethical principles, grounded in an awareness of the history and the current state of the publishing industry.
BYU editing students find work in a variety of enterprises:
- Freelance work
- Publishing houses
- Businesses and corporations
- Nonprofit organizations such as government agencies, libraries, museums, schools, universities, scientific and technical organizations
Editing graduates edit and publish content in a variety of genres:
- Scholarly works
- Web content
- Advertising and marketing materials
- Technical materials
- Personal and family histories
Students also leverage their editing training to pursue graduate school in a variety of disciplines.
Selecting a Section of ELang 410R: Substantive and Genre Editing
All sections of ELang 410R cover substantive editing issues, such as tone, organization, expression, titles, logic, indexes, and graphics. Each section involves practicing those skills in the context of a different publishing genre and also focuses on issues specific to that genre. Different genres are taught each semester, so check the course schedule for the section that best aligns with your goals. In recent semesters, the genres have included fiction and nonfiction books, technical editing, and freelance editing. Other genres may be offered in future years.
Fiction and Nonfiction Books This section prepares students to work in the traditional book publishing industry. Projects and assignments typically include popular fiction (such as young adult fantasy or science fiction), scholarly books, textbooks, and informative books.
Technical Editing This section prepares students to work outside of the traditional publishing industry for large corporations, tech and software companies, airlines, banks, and so on. Each of these companies produces manuals, instructions, policies, and websites that needs to be edited and designed. Projects and assignments include working on memos, letters, outlines, safety manuals, and instructions.
Freelance Editing This section prepares students for one of the fastest growing sectors of the publishing industry: freelance editing. Students learn to attract and maintain clients, build networks, manage personal workflow, and run a freelance business. Projects and assignments include building a professional internet presence, understanding business plans, and planning for freelance success.
Selecting a Section of ELang 430R: Editing for Publication
ELang 430R provides the opportunity for you to polish the editing and other publishing skills you’ve developed during the editing program. You’ll apply these skills to complete a publishing project, which you can then use in your professional portfolio. During the course, you’ll also learn more about publishing as a profession. ELang 430R is offered in multiple genres. Please check the course catalog to see which genres will be offered in upcoming semesters and spring term. Following are some of the ELang 430 genres offered:
Stowaway Magazine (Print and Online)
Students plan, write, edit, proofread, design, and lay out articles for a travel magazine. Students manage the magazine’s website and complete tasks related to PR, social media, and selling and advertising.
Mormon Insights (Online)
Students plan, write, edit, proofread, and format gospel-related articles designed to engage teens and young adults. Students manage the website, create shareable picture quotes, complete tasks related to PR and social media, and oversee the translation of articles into multiple languages.
Book Publishing (Print and Online)
Students interact directly with authors to edit, proofread, and typeset the authors’ books. Students also design the cover and assist with jacket copy.
University Aims and the Editing Program
In keeping with the aims of a BYU education, the editing program strives to cultivate in its students the attitude that editing is primarily service -oriented. Upon achieving an editing major/minor, students will have received an education that harmonizes with the aims of BYU in the following ways:
Spiritually Strengthening Students will explore how editors can meet the expectations of their employers and clients while remaining morally responsible to society and ultimately to God for the accuracy, ethical soundness, and values and attitudes of the materials they edit. They will explore how service to authors and readers can be service to God.
Intellectually Enlarging Editing is a lifelong pursuit of learning. Students will learn to make information and ideas more accessible to the public by helping authors communicate that information and those ideas with readers.
Character Building In mediating between the wishes of the author, the needs of the audience, the desires of the publisher, and the forces of the marketplace, editors must maintain integrity and respect. Students will learn to become selfless editors, serving the needs of others above their own desires.
Lifelong Learning and Service Students will learn to appreciate the service that editing provides. As editors, students will grow and change under the service of their chosen careers, allowing them to give back to their communities.