5K run contributes to an informed society

Note: If you read to the end, there is an appeal for money.

After a year away from the desk — a tumultuous year for newspaper copy desks everywhere — my respect and admiration for my colleagues has only increased. So, too, has my expectation for a positive future.

I became a journalist because I believed in the power of information and I respected those who worked to keep us informed. I became a copy editor because I wanted to be sure what ended up in the readers’ hands was the best possible telling of the stories that shape our communities and our world.

You would think this would be a lousy time to be in college looking at a career in copy editing. But there are many young people in college today focused on copy editing with the same motivation that drove me. They have the brain power to excel at anything, but they choose to enter the risky, mostly thankless field of keeping us all informed.

Despite the conventional thinking, these future copy editors are entering a field that is more important than ever. The number of news sources is increasing, and we need to be able to turn to those sources that are concerned with the public good rather than those focused on driving an agenda. Newspapers are not dying, and news copy desks will not disappear. The demands on the desk will be greater, but the foundations will not change.

The American Copy Editors Society believes in a strong future for copy editors and every year awards thousands of dollars in scholarships to those entering the field. I am looking forward to meeting this year’s honorees this week in Philadelphia at the ACES annual conference. This year’s scholarship winners are Shannon Epps of Hampton University in Virginia; Emily Ingram of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Robin Kawakami, who graduated last year from City University, London; William Powell, who graduated in December from the University of Missouri-Columbia; and Caitlin Saniga of Kent State University in Ohio.

To encourage others along the path of these five copy editors, I’m planning to run in my first 5K this week through the streets of Philadelphia to the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (a la Rocky) and then onward to the Tavern on Broad, where I’m told raw eggs will be provided. I’ve been walking 5K for the past several weeks, so I’m pretty sure I won’t collapse en route. Last night I ran half the distance, the most I’ve ever run, and I hope to keep up with younger, more fit copy editors for at least the first half of the route.

The run is a fundraiser for the ACES Education Fund. Officers have a goal of building a $130,000 endowment to make the fund self-sustaining. I no longer have an office in which to solicit contributions, but if you’ve read this far, I encourage you to help me with a worthy cause. I’m asking for donations of just $1, which you can send to me via PayPal. I’ll make the donation to the fund in all your names, and I’ll tweet a special thank you to all who contribute.

Donations should be made via mnallen@mac.com by clicking on the “Send Money” tab at the PayPal site. Sorry I don’t have a button. Maybe next year I’ll have figured that out.

Details on the run are here: http://www.aces2010.org/program/activities/fun-run

Details on the ACES Education Fund are here: http://www.copydesk.org/edfund

And please take a look at the fine copy editors honored this year: http://www.copydesk.org/news/10_scholars.php

I am grateful to you for your support.


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