Graphic by staff graphic designer Sumen Imtiaz.
Writers of Tomorrow* is a Slice of Culture series where we strive to highlight our writers of tomorrow — aspiring novelists, songwriters, fanfiction writers, playwrights and more.
By now we’ve interviewed several novelists, playwrights, but never an editor of an online publication.
Khier Casino, a northern New Jersey-based editor and Saint Peter’s University graduate, gave us an insight on the process of preparing and finalizing a written piece for publication.
How long have you been editing?
“I started as an associate editor in June 2017 after being a staff writer for about a year at NextShark, the largest Asian American publication I edit for now.”
When it comes to editors, most people see them as a middleman between authors and their audiences. An editor must look at a piece of writing from two angles the first from the angle of the author — to make sure we do not lose the writers’ intent.”
Casino, who is also attending Columbia Journalism School, has been one of the leaders who helped guide NextShark get to its success now. It is arguably the leading source for Asian American news.
Earlier during the year, when Asians and Asian Americans were experiencing hate crimes around the country, NextShark reported a huge chunk — if not all — of the incidents throughout the U.S.
On April 22, NextShark Founder and CEO Benny Luo named Casino as the new NextShark Editor.
What made you want to be an editor?
“I never thought I’d see myself in the editor role.
My passion has always been writing and telling stories. But I’ve always loved reading. My past mentors and professors always told me that in order to become a better writer, you have to read constantly. By reading the works of others, you get a better sense of different writing styles and processes.”
Editors are very much important members of the writing community.
They help writers of all types prepare their work for publication by looking over the work and making corrections such as spelling and/or grammatical errors, and at times assist with reworking sentence structures all while doing their best not to change the tone of the work.
NextShark publishes many stories per day. They cover a wide variety of topics including sports, local news and entertainment, to name a few, but they all have one thing in common — its focused on the Asian and Asian American community.
What are the basic steps of the editing process?
“My co-editors at NextShark came up with basic steps to follow, but it’s always a work in progress:
1. Read the article in its entirety first without making any edits to get a better sense of what the story is about.
2. Make sure the lede (opening paragraph) is strong and concise, but also hooks the reader in.
3. Look for grammar and syntax errors — punctuation and spelling mistakes.
4. Does each paragraph flow into one another? If not, give writers feedback on making better transitions.
5. Double (sometimes triple check) sources and links.
6. Check that hyperlinks work.”
And while the process of editing may seem simple, it is far from it.
Editing any piece of work can take anywhere from minutes to days, depending on the length of the writing and the amount of editing it may need.
Like writers, editors have difficult parts to their process, whether it be from keeping the author’s tone, to understanding the message they are trying to convey. I asked Casino about this.
What is the most difficult part of the editing process?
“Giving feedback. You want the piece to be good but you don’t want to lose the writer’s original tone.
One of my co-editors shared a good quote with me that she got from one of her college professors. When you’re editing a writer’s piece, ‘do no harm,’ meaning don’t change sentences haphazardly so that you lose the writer’s voice after it has gone through some editing.”