When many folks think of editing, they imagine a quick review of the grammar and punctuation… but that’s only a tiny piece of what we do. We edit to ensure writing is clear and consistent for our readers. We often start the process by asking big picture questions, and this regularly involves asking for sections to be rewritten, reorganized, or restructured.
So, What is the Purpose of Link?
Link is a student magazine focused on excellent writing and design by students, for students at BCIT. The by students part is easy; the magazine is a home for student writing, a place to be published. For students is where the confusion sets in; it has two meanings:
For students… to read.
Our audience is BCIT students, so we need to publish a magazine that appeals to them and their interests. The articles should be focused, easy to read, and factual. As a magazine for an educational institution, the factual part is very important. We need to keep the trust of our audience, and we do that by fact-checking and asking for sources. We ensure that the work is the best it can be, so our readers understand the message and can learn from the articles.
For students… to learn.
Link is an excellent place for students to get industry experience, so we make that experience as genuine as possible. Whether a student wants to work in journalism, publishing, marketing, or any other field where emails and communication are a regular occurrence, we want the experience at Link to be an asset. This applies to all contributors and editors. By changing the way writers think about the process of writing and editing, we hope to leave every student that works with Link more confident and skilled.
We have a responsibility to our student population to choose the right articles and to edit each article carefully. In addition, Link is supported in part by student fees, so we need to ensure we spend that money wisely. We pay for articles that we know will be an asset to our students.
Publishing Isn’t a Platform
If we publish all of the writing submitted to us, we will be a platform, not a magazine publisher. Part of the challenge of running a magazine is making hard decisions about what is included and what isn’t. These decisions are made as thoughtfully as possible by our editorial team (a group of roughly four students hired by Link because of their experience, interest, and/or skill as editors) and are based on current trends, what articles we have published recently, what the theme is, and how closely it relates to the interests of our audience. There are no guarantees at Link. Like other university publishers, Link “reserves the right to refuse any submission.”
This doesn’t mean we turn away contributing writers—on the contrary, editors are trained and expected to work with writers of all skill levels! Link editors will help folks come up with ideas that suit the Link audience, provide suggestions and support, and help ensure writers get their ideas on paper as clearly as possible.
Conclusion: An Editors Perspective
Link student editors are here to help, but the work isn’t easy! They need to balance a fine line between ensuring clarity for our diverse readers and making sure that the voice of the writer remains. They care about the work, and they’ve been where you are! Most Link editors started out as contributors, building their skills and learning to edit from that side of the page.
It’s important to remember that the editing process is a collaboration, and both the writer and editor have to come to an understanding. The writer is the person who has their name on the article, so they need to ensure they’re happy with it. If the writer decides that the editorial vision of the magazine and their writing doesn’t mesh, they can take that writing elsewhere*. If the editor doesn’t think the article is the right fit for the magazine, they can also decide not to publish** (with the input of the entire editorial team). Both parties need to agree to see it go to print. The editing process might seem overwhelming the first time you take part, but we hope you’ll agree that it’s worth it!
Do you want to learn more about how our editors make their decisions? Feel free to read our editing guide!
*The writer can pull an article until production begins (once we hit the design stage, which is roughly 10 days before print, articles can’t be removed). Ensure you retract your article as soon as possible!
**If an editor makes this decision, it’s usually because the article isn’t ready for print, and can’t be edited in time for publication. It will usually be considered as an online exclusive instead. If for some reason, the editorial team decides that the article is not suitable for the magazine at all, they may offer a “kill fee” to the writer as a thank you for their hard work.