Have pen, will slice
I’m in a very unusual position at work. For some reason -- and much to my delight -- I’ve been named editor
of an 80-page coffee table book
commemorating the first five years of the program. This is not unlike my experience editing my high school yearbook
, except I’m now much better equipped to take care of such a large project.
The problem is, that as I go through the director’s stories for the publication, I find myself wanting to edit -- to slice and chop. His creative instincts aren’t mine, and I have strong opinions of how things should be written.
So this afternoon, I must sit down with him and very delicately explain just why I think certain passages need to be cut from his stories. About how in the wake of our budget cancellation, everything he writes is self-deprecating. “No, really -- the program doesn’t suck. We didn’t change the world, but we don’t suck.” For me, self-deprecation just won’t cut it for the coupe de grace of my work here.
Since this book needs to be turned into a sales pitch for possibly financial backers, I have to tailor it for a much better message: “We rock. They were idiots to eliminate our funding. If you don’t fund us, the world will weep.” There should be no doubt at all about how great we are -- that our loss of funding was nothing short of a tragedy and crime that must be quickly rectified. You can’t generate a sense of outrage without first establishing just how incredible you are.
The problem is that my boss is a journalist. Despite what conservative political pundits say, they don’t believe in making any subjective, unqualified statements about things -- they abhor lies. Anything venturing close to an opinion fills their hearts with fear beyond reckoning. If you can’t clear it with a fact checker then my god you might as well be going to hell. Whereas, my training is in marketing and creative writing -- all lies.
And it will take a liar, not a reporter, to save this program.