Journalism

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Copy Editor's Checklist

Read the story through once. You will then see it the same way a reader will see it, as a whole unit. After you have read through the copy:

Edit for brevity

  • Eliminate wordiness and make sure the writer has taken full advantage of vivid verbs and, when necessary, adjectives. Convert active to passive voice.

Edit for clarity

  • Recast all confusing, bureaucratic language. Explain unfamiliar terms. If you don't understand what you're reading, neither will your readers.

Edit for grammar, spelling and style

  • You will need your “When Words Collide” book, the AP Stylebook and the Style Notes from this workbook before you begin.

Edit for accuracy

  • Check spelling of names, titles, dates and times, all verifiable FYI information, using college and other references. Check all math, using common sense and a calculator. Do all points in story make sense? If not, check with reporter and fix.

Edit for readability

  • Organize content to best capture and maintain reader interest. This is the highest level of editing and should be done with help of the adviser until you have mastered the skill.
Copy Editor No. 1
edits for accuracy, organization, spelling, punctuation, active writing, brevity, clarity and style.
  • Pull story from Copy Edit One folder and save A COPY in Copy Edit Two folder when done.
  • It is very important that you save the original copy in Copy Edit One folder.
  • Add your initials to the slug.
Copy Editor No. 2
edits primarily for mechanics and style.
  • Pull story from Copy Edit Two folder and put A COPY in Final folder when done.
  • Add your initials to the slug.
  • Write a headline for online edition.
  • Write cutlines for online edition.

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