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PR advice: lose the track changes people. Editing tips within.

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Oh dear. It’s too easy to make a mockery of this, so we won’t. Fairfax has sent out a memo to its soon-to-be-significantly-redundant editorial workforce in draft form with track changes visible. Read about the memo here. And yes, you can see the actual memo.

Suffice to say that it’s a PR blooper of significant proportions for Fairfax’s CEO Greg Hywood and PR supremo Sue Cato at a time of extreme sensitivity. (Journos get testy when being made redundant.) 

Of course, frankly, it could happen to any one of us; so don’t get cocky kids. 

Frankly the greatest lesson for the rest of us is to show how utterly valueless 90% of all re-writing is. Few if any of the changes were worth the time spent making them. We think is true of NFPs as well. Re-writing / editing is seen as a box to be ticked, a way to show authority by those in charge; not to improve the copy. We see this daily.

We suggest these copywriting / editing rules. The editor must only make changes to:

  • correct errors;
  • shorten length;
  • clarify or simplify;
  • boost interest or persuasiveness to reader.

Otherwise; bugger off.

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