For a special issue on urgent publishing over at the online peer-reviewed journal APRIA, I wrote an experimental essay on what a practice of Urgent Editing could look like.
Abstract: Urgent publishing can be considered a movement that travels from speed to relevance, linking the two. This is asserted through a situated, relational practice – it is in the midst of things. Comparably, the editor is often understood as being an ‘intermediary’, meaning the editor is working in the space between author and text and reader, between publisher, production, and printed matter. They bring out the best possible realisation of the intention or goal of the publication; rationalising it, putting it in context, relating it to public debate, literary history, or stakeholders. Often, the editor and the editorial work remain invisible to the outside, and are supposed to do so. But this invisibility extends even to discussions about (innovating, digitising) the publishing process. There is plenty to do about design, revenues, marketing, software, tools, the role of the author, but what about the intermediary between all of those? At most, it is heard that in the age of social media and self-publishing, no-one needs an editor anymore. Moderators, fact-checkers, and coders are the new middle men, and in the end the editor will surely lose their job to automation. This makes it urgent too for the editing profession to reconsider their role. Their character of intermediary suggests that an important role may be available for the editor in urgent publishing. But what could that role be? Discussing three case studies from applied publishing research, I will sketch how the editor can play a pivotal part in an urgent publishing practice.
This essay is conceptualised and published using Twine, an application which allows the reader to pursue their own path through the text. At the end of each chapter and section, options for the next step are presented based on connections within the different parts of the content. The reader can choose however they like, whether intuitively, rationally, or randomly. There’s also the opportunity to read the essay in a linear manner. For those who wish, there’s also a PDF version available. In short: be your own editor.
I also wrote the Editorial, which offers short introductions into the topic and the other contributions, see here.