Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Smokin' ACES: Ex-Freep editor is fond of the weird and short

"On guard for 176 years," and Alex Cruden was there for almost 40 years of it.

Alex Cruden, longtime editor at another Gannett publication, the Detroit Free Press, reflected on his 40 years in daily journalism. He just took a buyout in March.

This was actually the last session I attended at ACES, but it was one of the best. Oddly enough, however, I didn't take many notes. I must have been too engrossed in his wisdom. (Cruden is at left. Photo by Daniel Hunt, Flickr.)

This is the one thing I wrote down, and it's a quote from Cruden: "Be willing to not only tolerate the unusual; try to enhance it." He was talking about the editing process and how it's paramount to accentuate what makes news, news.

Cruden distributed a handout about how to edit on a tight deadline. He offers a 14-step process. For the Word version of the guide, go here. For the PDF version, go here. Click it. Print it. Learn from it.

The closing two sentences of his biography in the ACES conference program were: "As an editor, he has a fondness for short sentences. And irony."

I know a few flowery-writing reporters who could benefit from his insight.

Session information
  • Title: "40 Years in 90 Minutes"
  • Time: 2:15 to 3:45 p.m. Saturday
  • Presenter: Alex Cruden, Detroit Free Press (retired)
  • Description: "Cruden will offer a one-page handout and lead a discussion based on distillation of four decades of daily journalism. What’s most valuable amid the tread of deadlines and the blare of online? What skills should an editor cherish, and expect to be rewarded for?"
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