Isolation diary: Editing during lockdown

One of my colleagues here on Lib Dem Voice has suggested, somewhat tongue in cheek, that I should write about editing the blog in lockdown. That could be as self-referential as an Escher drawing, but I have risen to the challenge.

At one level, very little has changed. We are sent posts by email, we edit and publish them, sometimes after a correspondence with the contributor about length, or content, or style. Sometimes we turn posts down because they aren’t really relevant or of interest to our readers. Sometimes posts are simply badly written – we try to help if we think they could be polished up. We particularly try to encourage posts from young and/or new contributors.

At another level, everything has changed. It seems that lockdown has thrown people into two camps. In one group are those who are incredibly busy and rather stressed because they are trying to work from home in less than ideal circumstances, while simultaneously attempting to home educate restless children. In another group are those who have far more time on their hands than usual.

Our team on Lib Dem Voice is split in the same way. I fall into the latter camp so have taken on a larger editorial role at the moment, and am trying to support colleagues who are councillors, or working for MPs, or volunteering, who are all spending huge amounts of time dealing with the fallout from lockdown where they live.

It would seem that many of our contributors are also in the “too much time on their hands” category, so we have been receiving a much larger inbox than usual. I am aware that we are not always responding to emails as quickly as we would like. That can sometimes be a problem where posts are time sensitive.

In the early days of lockdown we received dozens of posts which all covered much the same ground, echoing the time when all anyone wanted to write about was Brexit. People were anxious and angry and simply wanted to vent their feelings. We did turn some posts down because they added nothing new to the debate. Any posts that dealt with a new topic were welcomed as a breath of fresh air and given a prime spot.

Things have settled down a bit now. Contributors are musing on a wide range of topics, and have lifted their sights to focus on international issues as well as local.

If you haven’t submitted a post to Lib Dem Voice before then do consider doing so. Please read the guidelines first. Send contributions to [email protected] even if you know one or more of us personally. Anything sent to that email address is forwarded to the editorial team so it should get picked up by whoever is on duty that day.  If you haven’t heard back within three days then it is worth chasing us in case your email has gone into spam, but please do not follow up earlier, because that can just be irritating when we are working through a long list.

I will admit to a couple of other things that really do irritate me.

First, the words in UK headlines Do Not Have Capital Letters, unless they are proper nouns. Capitalisation is an American practice and, as far as I can see, the only UK media that does adopt that style is Huffington Post, which is based in the US anyway.

Second, I try not to use TLAs, or FLAs for that matter. IMHO they should be replaced with real words ASAP unless well-known to all readers, eg BBC or NHS. Anything else is arrogance.

You have been warned.




Please note

We have been in full self-isolation since 16th March to protect my husband whose immune system is compromised.

If you are in self-isolation then join the Lib Dems in self-isolation Facebook group.

You can find my previous Isolation diaries here.


* Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames, where she is still very active with the local party, and is the Hon President of Kingston Lib Dems.

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